For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Inga Sarda-Sorensen, Director of Communications
(Office) 646.358.1463
isorensen@theTaskForce.org

California Governor Signs Two Bills to Advance Transgender Equality

Transgender rights measures modernize discrimination and birth certificate statutes

WASHINGTON - California Gov. Jerry Brown has signed two important transgender rights measures into law. The Gender Non-Discrimination Act clarifies existing California law by listing “gender identity or expression” alongside other protected characteristics throughout the various discrimination statutes. Previously, these protections were in the definition of “gender” and employers, landlords and others who are covered by these laws were not always clear whether transgender people were protected.

The Vital Statistics Modernization Act streamlines the existing process for making a petition for a court order recognizing a change of gender and obtaining an updated birth certificate, bringing state vital statistics law in line with federal standards. This bill is similar to one passed in Vermont earlier in 2011. These two states represent a small but growing trend by state governments to recognize contemporary medical standards relating to when a person has made a gender transition that should be legally recognized. Previously, California law required showing of some type of surgery before updating gender, a discriminatory and unnecessary requirement. The U.S. Department of State modernized its policy relating to birth certificates for citizens born abroad, as well as for passports, in 2009. The Transgender Law Center and Equality California, among others, advocated for passage of the legislation.

“Even though most forms of discrimination against transgender people have been illegal in California for many years, transgender people are still experiencing bias, discrimination and harassment,” says Rea Carey, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. “Discrimination is often triggered by not having ID that matches one’s identity. Strengthening the discrimination law, and modernizing the birth certificate law, are two important steps toward eliminating discrimination. We congratulate the Transgender Law Center and Equality California on these successes and thank Assemblymembers Toni Atkins and Bonnie Lowenthal for being the lead sponsors of this legislation.”

Only 24 percent of transgender people have been able to update the gender on their birth certificate according to Injustice at Every Turn: A Report of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey, a groundbreaking study of nearly 6,500 transgender people’s experiences of discrimination in the U.S. released by the Task Force, along with the National Center for Transgender Equality earlier this year. The study also showed that discrimination was connected to lower incomes, unemployment, homelessness, as well as health disparities.

Download a copy of Injustice at Every Turn: A Report of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey.

###

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force builds the political power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community from the ground up. We do this by training activists, organizing broad-based campaigns to defeat anti-LGBT referenda and advance pro-LGBT legislation, building the organizational capacity of our movement and generating groundbreaking research through our Policy Institute.

Share This Article

More in: