Legislation passed in California will grant sweeping new rights to transgender students attending public schools in the state.

The bill, signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown, shall take affect from 1 January 2014 and will allow transgender students the right to use whichever toilet they feel most comfortable using and the right to choose which sports activities to take part in based on their own gender identity.

A clear majority voted to approve AB1266 with 21 voting in favour and 9 voting against when the bill was first brought to the California Assembly.

The law is first of its kind in the United States and is the only law currently that specifically calls for equal access to all students regardless of their gender identity.

Those who supported the bill, including Governor Brown, believe the new legislation shall help reduce bullying in California’s state schools. Trans activists believe the law can reduce discrimination and allow for much better access to transgender students.

However, some parents and conservative groups have opposed the measure claiming that it could disrupt teaching in the classroom and lead to ‘confusion’ for pupils attending schools.