Frank Schubert is a national anti-equality activist best known as the architect of marriage discrimination ballot initiatives across the country, including California's now-dead Proposition 8. As we've reported recently here at the Bilerico Project, though, he's now setting his sights on a new target: trans students.
In August, California Democratic Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 1266, the School Success and Opportunity Act, into law. The landmark law requires that California schools respect the gender identity of all students and allows them equal access to all school activities and facilities. It's scheduled to take effect on January 1.
Of course, this law infuriated right-wing haters, who quickly mobilized a signature-gathering campaign in an effort to place a repeal measure on the November 2014 ballot. BuzzFeed's Tony Merevick reports:
Opponents of the measure -- bolstered by Schubert and the National Organization for Marriage -- argue the law would infringe on parental choice and cause discomfort among students in school restrooms and locker rooms. The Privacy For All Students coalition refers to it as "the co-ed bathroom law." Thousands of volunteers throughout California collected and delivered the signatures since August, PFAS said.
They had to gather nearly 505,000 valid signatures in order for the measure to qualify for the ballot, and it appears they may have succeeded.
From the Washington Post:
A coalition of conservative groups called Privacy for all Students submitted 620,000 signatures to get the initiative on the November 2014 ballot, said Frank Schubert, the political strategist handling the signature gathering effort.
To qualify, at least 505,000 valid signatures must be submitted. To verify the signatures, each of California's 58 counties will first check that the overall count is correct, then conduct a random sampling to make sure they are legitimate. After that, it is likely the state would order a full review.
Gird your loins, Californians: if Schubert and his band of transphobes succeed in placing an AB 1266 repeal measure on next year's ballot, your state will once again become Ground Zero in the battle to beat back the basic human rights of the LGBT community. Expect another hate- and misinformation-filled Prop 8-style campaign with millions of dollars pouring in from outside groups like NOM.
A savage attack last week put California's gender-identity conversation into even sharper focus: 18-year-old Sasha Fleischman (left), a gender activist who identifies as agender (non-binary), fell asleep on a bus while returning home to East Oakland. Sasha happened to be wearing a skirt, and a 16-year-old high school student set it on fire. Sasha tried unsuccessfully to put the fire out, but was aided by fellow passengers. Still, Sasha suffered terrible second- and third-degree burns and will require massive skin grafts costing thousands and thousands of dollars.
The attack on Sasha came just days before Schubert and his hateful coalition announced that they'd met their signature-gathering goal. If those signatures are verified and the trans student rights law goes to a referendum, the LGBT civil rights movement will have to fight this battle every bit as fiercely as we fight attacks on marriage, family, employment, and military equality. (This should go without saying, but it needs to be said nonetheless.)
Fasten your seatbelts for what's sure to be a bumpy ride ahead.