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5 Reasons Why California Is Becoming An (Even More) Awesome Place For LGBT People

San Francisco and Los Angeles have been seen as progressive hotspots for some time, but California is becoming an even more awesome place to be a lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) person, thanks to some statewide legislative efforts, as a whole.

And it isn't just the 2013 re-introduction of marriage equality after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the state's voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage, Proposition 8, although that's certainly significant. On Sept. 30, the University of California aimed to set "the gold standard" in terms of LGBT issues by introducing more gender-neutral restrooms and allowing students across its 10 state campuses to update their personal records with a preferred name that does not necessarily match their legal name.

Meanwhile, there's also a new statewide ban on "trans panic" and "gay panic" defenses in criminal courts and, although not LGBT-specific, groundbreaking legislation for sex workers -- both of which are a first for the U.S.

Here are 5 great reasons why California is become an even more awesome place to be LGBT:

  • Gay and trans "panic" defenses outlawed
    In August, the California Assembly voted 50-10 to pass a ban on "trans panic" and "gay panic" defenses in criminal courts. Th
    Gary John Norman via Getty Images
    In August, the California Assembly voted 50-10 to pass a ban on "trans panic" and "gay panic" defenses in criminal courts. The law, AB 2501, was signed by Gov. Brown on Sept. 28. As The Advocate pointed out, California murder suspects had previously been able to argue their way to lesser manslaughter charges if they could prove that their violent behavior took place in response to learning that their victim identified as LGBT.
  • California adopts landmark condom law to protect sex workers
    In September, the Golden State became the first in the nation to adopt <a href="https://www.huffpost.com/entry/condom-law-cal
    Brian Finke via Getty Images
    In September, the Golden State became the first in the nation to adopt a law aiming to protect sex workers from being prosecuted as prostitutes merely because they're carrying condoms. "It's great that the California Legislature has contemplated this issue and taken it seriously," Sienna Baskin, managing director of the New York-based Sex Worker Project at the Urban Justice Center, told The Huffington Post. "That said, I do think a more comprehensive bill would be more effective."
  • Transgender identities to be respected after death
    California's "<a href="http://www.advocate.com/politics/transgender/2014/09/28/new-law-gives-trans-californians-respect-after
    Great Art Productions via Getty Images
    California's "Respect After Death Act," which was signed by Brown on Sept. 26, will require death certificate for a transgender person to accurately reflect their gender identity. Masen Davis of the Transgender Law Center, which co-sponsored the bill, told The Advocate that the bill was "common sense" and will "help protect the dignity of our loved ones upon their passing." AB1577, which was partly inspired by the death of transgender artist and rights advocate Christopher Lee, will take effect in July 2015, according to the Associated Press.
  • University of California to add gender-neutral restrooms
    On Sept. 29, University of California President Janet Napolitano ordered the 10 campuses -- including Berkeley, Davis, Irvine
    Mitch Diamond via Getty Images
    On Sept. 29, University of California President Janet Napolitano ordered the 10 campuses -- including Berkeley, Davis, Irvine and Santa Cruz -- to create more gender-neutral restrooms and allow students to update their personal records with a preferred name that may not correspond with their legal name, CBS and the Associated Press are reporting. All existing single-stall bathrooms in UC buildings will now reportedly be made available to users of any gender instead of reserved for a single sex. “UC should be the gold standard where these issues are concerned,” Napolitano said of the changes, according to CBS.
  • Special LGBT and intersex training will be required for health professionals
    As Think Progress reports, California health professionals will now be <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/lgbt/2014/09/29/3573
    michaeljung via Getty Images
    As Think Progress reports, California health professionals will now be trained specifically to work with LGBT and intersex people. AB 496 calls for "understanding and applying cultural and ethnic data to the process of clinical care...pertinent to the appropriate treatment of...the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex communities."
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