California to launch LGBTQ statewide advisory task force

A statewide advisory task force that will work to identify the needs of LGBTQ students and make recommendations to improve their educational experiences and well-being will convene for the first time in July.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction (SSPI) Tony Thurmond accepted applications for the group in May but has yet to report his appointees. The task force will consist of a minimum of 15 members including at least eight students, one administrator, two certificated teachers, two mental health professionals, one community advocate and one representative of the California Department of Public Health’s Office of Health Equity.

The Governor’s signing of Senate Bill 857 (Laird, D-Santa Cruz) last summer required the SSPI to form the task force to focus on policy suggestions and initiatives around mental health and feelings of safety and support; inclusive and safe access to school facilities; inclusive instructional material and curriculum; mitigating bullying and harassment; and inclusive participation in campus activities.

Ultimately, after meeting virtually at least six times between July and January 2026, the group will report its findings to the Legislature, SSPI and Governor by Jan. 1, 2026.

“California is proud to have some of the most robust laws in the nation when it comes to protecting and supporting our LGBTQ+ community, and we’re committed to the ongoing work to create safer, more inclusive spaces for all Californians,” said Gov. Gavin Newsom following the signing.

Other recent action

Just before Pride Month kicked off in June, Thurmond and members of the Legislature announced Assembly Bill 1955 — the Support Academic Futures and Educators for Today’s Youth (SAFETY) Act — “to ensure all students have a safe and supportive environment to learn regardless of gender identity,” according to the California Department of Education.

“If signed into law, the SAFETY Act would prohibit school districts from implementing forced outing policies, provide resources for parents and students to navigate conversations around gender and identity on their own terms, and ensure teachers or school staff are not retaliated against for refusing to forcibly out a student,” according to the CDE.

Forced outing policies have become increasingly common in school systems across the nation in recent years. While some states have embraced the practice, passing laws promoting or requiring staff to notify a student’s parents or guardians if that student goes by a different name that does not align with their biological sex, uses different pronouns or uses campus facilities that don’t match their biological sex. California local educational agencies have been warned by the Attorney General to avoid the use of forced gender identity disclosure policies.

Should AB 1955 pass, California would be the first state in the U.S. to explicitly prohibit forced outing policies in schools. The bill was passed by the Senate June 13 and sent to the Assembly for a vote. If approved by the Assembly, it will be considered by the Governor.

The CDE has an online suite of resources LEAs can reference on supporting LGBTQ students year-round.