Davis Commission Revises Language to Protect Transgender and Nonbinary Youth


By Aleeza Khan


DAVIS, CA — On May 18, the Davis Recreation and Park Commission (RPC) revisited their Feb. 16 discussion on creating policies in compliance with Assembly Bill 2404 — The Fair Play in Community Sports Act. 


The Fair Play Act was enacted by the California legislature in 2004. It prohibits gender discrimination in community youth sport programs and requires that city and county entities provide all genders equitable athletic opportunities, treatment and benefits in youth sports programs. 


The RPC reviewed three gender equity policies for the city. 


The first policy, “Gender Equity – Fair Play in Community Sports,” prohibits “discrimination against any person on the basis of sex or gender in the operation, conduct, or administration of competiive youth sport programs, or in the allocation of parks and recreation facilities and resources that support or enable these programs.” 


The second policy is the city’s grievance procedure regarding gender equity. Under this policy, the city offers various solutions in cases of inequity. Community members are encouraged to contact either the Parks and Community Service Director or the Human Resources Office, or attend a meeting of either the Recreation and Park Commission or the City Council. 


The third policy involves a notification system to inform the community and distribute training resources to users and city staff. 


These new policies underwent an initial review by the commission on Feb. 16, 2022. During that meeting, commissioner Darci Silbaugh requested that the language in the document be updated to “ensure through legal review that transgender, nonbinary, and gender fluid individuals are represented in the document as well.”


At the May 18 meeting, Davis Parks and Community Services Assistant Director Christine Helweg updated the commission on changes that had been made to the language of the gender equity policy following commissioner Silbaugh’s request. “We inserted language that the commission recommended related to transgender and nonbinary youth in youth sports,” Helweg explained.


She elaborated that “the gender equity specific to transgender or nonbinary youth . . . was an addition that the commission felt very strongly about and voted to include in the policies for [City Council’s] consideration.”


Commissioner Tony Marigo raised a question regarding the timing of these policies. He stated that “it looks like AB 2404 was passed back in 2004, so I’m just surprised that we’re just now coming up with gender equity items [to address a bill] that was passed over 18 years ago.”


Helweg responded, “The city has been in compliance and has had gender equity practices, but we have not had formal written policies. So, we wanted to memorialize those to make sure we were in full compliance with everything.”


City staff and the RPC have also been discussing park amenities and accessibility over the past few months. At the May 18 meeting, commissioners divided the city’s parks into manageable groups and volunteered to gather an inventory of park amenities and ensure ADA accessibility for each. 


The gender equity policies will soon undergo a final review by the city’s legal team, before being presented to City Council.


About The Author

Jordan Varney received a masters from UC Davis in Psychology and a B.S. in Computer Science from Harvey Mudd. Varney is editor in chief of the Vanguard at UC Davis.

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