Manteca Teen Fights for Transgender Rights in Public Schools

SACRAMENTO–

In a new suit and a shy smile, 16-year-old Ashton Lee of Manteca is taking a big step forward to help secure the rights of transgendered teens everywhere.

Lee delivered 5,700 signatures to the office of Governor Jerry Brown in support of AB-1266. It’s a bill that would require school districts to place transgendered teens in classes they identify with. For Ashton – born a girl, but identifying as a boy – that means getting placed in the right physical education class.

“I was placed in a class, a P.E. class full of all girls, and you know that doesn’t make sense, because I’m a boy and everyday going to that class made me feel like I was so completely alone in the world,” Lee told FOX40. “It was devastating and I couldn’t focus on my other classes because there was this dark cloud hanging over me and it was so difficult everyday.”

It’s a policy already adopted by the Los Angeles Unified School District that Assemblymember Tom Ammiano wants to take statewide.

For Ashton’s mom, Kathterine Lee, the pride at her teenager devoting his life to advocacy is apparent.

“I think a lot of what he does is driven to make it better for himself and also for others, so I’m really proud of what’s he’s doing around this,” Katherine Lee told FOX40.

For Ashton, the hard part was accepting who he was and having others do the same; gathering nearly 6,000 signatures was not.

With a deep breath, the Manteca teen walked past the bronze bear to Governor Jerry Brown’s office to deliver the signatures. While the governor wasn’t there, the message of transgendered equality was sent.

“I’m really hopeful that this is going to work and I’ve got faith in this,” Ashton said.