By former Lancaster Youth Commission Chairman Anthony Barros
My name is Anthony Barros and I was the ASB President and Senior Class President at Antelope Valley High School last year as well as the 2012-2013 Student Board Member for the AVUHSD Board of Trustees. I was not only involved at school, but I was also Mayor of the City of Lancaster Youth in Government Program and Chairman of the City of Lancaster Youth Commission. Needless to say, I was extensively involved with my school and community within the Antelope Valley.
As an openly gay student, I had many obstacles in reaching these leadership positions, but I still managed to overcome them to have my voice heard. I was the founder of the Gay Straight Alliance at my school and a board member for The Outreach Center in the Antelope Valley. While Prop 8 was deliberated at the Supreme Court, CNN came out to the Antelope Valley to do a cover story of my life in the Antelope Valley and why the freedom to marry was important to me. I continued my leadership on the Statewide Advocacy Council with the Gay Straight Alliance Network in Sacramento advocating for bills like Seth’s Law (SB 9) and of course The School Success and Opportunity Act (AB 1266).
The School Success and Opportunity Act ensures that schools understand their responsibility for the success and well-being of all students, including transgender students, and will allow transgender students to fully participate in all school activities, programs, and facilities. Transgender students have been unfairly excluded from physical education, athletic teams, and other school activities and facilities. This hinders their opportunity to succeed in school and graduate with their class.
As the MC of the Press Conference for AB 1266 at the Capitol in Sacramento, I had the privilege of introducing Assemblymember Tom Ammiano (Author of AB1266), as well as, many of my transgender friends, who spoke about the importance of this bill for all students statewide.
I am concerned by the ignorant and transphobic reaction of educators in my hometown to AB 1266. It is important to hold our teachers, counselors, administrators, and board members accountable for their professional responsibility to protect all students in our schools, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, as stated by California law.
I am especially hurt and disappointed in the administration of Antelope Valley High School for hosting a press conference on Tuesday September 24th to call for the repeal of AB 1266. As a student at UC Berkeley with 2 full-ride scholarships, I hope to one day re-gain a sense of pride in my roots that start in the Antelope Valley.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the views of The AV Times.
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