Tuesday, October 11, 2011

California Governor Passes Trans-Supportive Laws and Anti-Bullying Measures

On October 9th and October 10th, Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed three progressive bills which increase rights for LGBT Californians. [Metro Weekly]

The Gender Nondiscrimination Act clarifies the language used in work, school, housing, and public accommodation nondiscrimination policies to protect “gender identity and expression” explicitly. Previously, California law included “gender identity and gender expression” in their nondiscrimination policies under “gender.” However, this was not clear, and this new bill has created a new category to ensure that people understand the law. California has effectively created its own state version of ENDA.

The Vital Statistics Modernization Act makes it much easier for transgender people to obtain new birth certificates by letting them apply for a gender change in any jurisdiction, not just the one they live in (as previous law stated). The VSMA states that applicants should have “medical certification from an attending physician that [they have] undergone treatment as determined by their physician to correct identification documents to reflect their gender.” This puts California on the same level as federal vital statistics standards, which eliminated the requirement of gender reassignment surgery in 2009.

The third bill that Gov. Brown signed was AB 9 or, “Seth’s Law.” This legislation tightens anti-bullying policies in California schools by promoting education for teachers and administrators, requiring clearer guidelines on how to handle bullying, ensuring schools have accurate policies on bullying, and shortening investigation timelines for any bullying allegations.

Take Action: If you live in California, you may want to thank Gov. Jerry Brown for his commitment to providing rights for LGBT people. For more information about what you can do to help keep your schools safe visit the Safe Schools page on the PFLAG National website; if you’re curious about how you can help a nation-wide nondiscrimination law pass check out PFLAG National’s page on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA).