CA Senate Passes Gender Identity Protections


The California Senate this week passed a bill that would strengthen the state’s existing nondiscrimination laws to explicitly protect trans citizens.

The legislation, known as the Gender Nondiscrimination Act (AB 887), passed in a vote of 25-13. The state Assembly passed the legislation in May by 54-24.

From original sponsor Toni Atkin’s (D-San Diego) press release sent out at the time of the legislation’s introduction into the California Assembly:

“Californians support fair and equal treatment for everyone, but many employers, landlords and transgender people themselves are unaware that the law protects transgender people,” said Atkins. “As a result, transgender people experience housing and employment discrimination and often are not even aware they have any recourse. AB 887 will strengthen our state’s anti-discrimination laws and move us closer to equality for every Californian.

California non-discrimination laws already define “gender” to include a person’s gender identity (how they see themselves) and gender expression (how other people see them). AB 887 specifically enumerates gender identity and gender expression in order to simplify compliance with existing legal protections.

In 2009, the Transgender Law Center released its “State of Transgender California” report. The report revealed overwhelmingly that Californians who experience discrimination based on gender identity and gender expression at work or elsewhere often times do not file complaints because they are unaware that they are protected as a result of confusing non-discrimination laws.

As mentioned above, current laws already protect people from discrimination based on their gender identity and gender expression because California’s non-discrimination laws define “gender” in a way that is inclusive of those terms (Educational Code 66260.7 and Penal Code 422.56). However, existing laws are somewhat vague and may be confusing for employers and housing authorities who need to know exactly what their responsibilities are in these areas.

It is hoped that by simply clarifying the law, employers will feel empowered knowing exactly what is expected of them, and that California’s trans population will know precisely what their rights are and if those rights have been violated.

The legislation now heads to Governor Brown’s desk. He is expected to sign.

Related Reading:

MI Republican Introduces Anti-Trans Prisoner Bill

Police Warn Potential Pattern in DC Trans Shootings

Australian School Kids Asked if Being Gay is “Sickest Sin”

Image used under the Creative Commons Attribution License with thanks to -Marlith-.

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Duane B.
.2 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Lilithe Magdalene

Proud to be a Californian!

Britin J.
Past Member 4 years ago

Another step forward!

Another "straight" person for GLBT rights! We are all human and should be treated as such!

Fred Krohn
Fred Krohn4 years ago

Good start, now destroy Proposition H8!

Carole H.
Carole H.4 years ago

More good news - thanks

Grace Adams
Grace Adams4 years ago

Jayna W. You would be surprised how many people punish cats for acting like cats. You would also be surprised how many ignoramuses are very put off by people who are confused by their own sexual identities without understanding what it is they are put off by. These same people are freaked out by unisex baby clothes even though male and female don't matter until puberty.

Leslea Herber
Leslea Herber4 years ago

This is the sort of law that the Harper Government (formerly known as "the Canadian Government before this fascist scumbag co-opted it), tried to kill. First in parliament, then by requiring their pet senators to force it to be ignored, so it couldn't become law here.

Congrats to California for being far more progressive than Canada for a change.

Karen & Edward O.
Karen and Ed O.4 years ago

I am so glad I live in a state where I feel reasonably sure that when the Legislature passes bills like this, that we have a governor who will sign it. It must be frustrating to live in states like Florida or Texas where your governor is a nut case.

Jane R.
Jane R.4 years ago

I hope all states follow in California's footprints!!

Jayna W.
Jayna W.4 years ago

This is one of the few good bills to come out of the California Senate. How a person identifies in terms of their gender is not something that a person chooses when they wake up in the morning. If that is the case, then there must be a scientific basis for this. Punishing the person by denying them jobs and houses because of who they are is ridiculous, That is like punishing your cat for acting like a cat.