California Transgender Bills Signed Into Law By Governor Jerry Brown

California Passes Two Historic Transgender Laws

California Governor Jerry Brown signed two transgender rights bills into law yesterday.

The first, Assembly Bill 433, the Vital Statistics Modernization Act, makes the process for Californians to obtain and update birth certificates easier.

The bill was authored by Assemblymember Bonnie Lowenthal (D-Long Beach) and sponsored by the Transgender Law Center and Equality California, according to a press release from the Transgender Law Center.

The Vital Statistics Modernization Act streamlines the current process for trans people to receive a new birth certificate (or other identifying documentation) that reflects their current gender. Trans people must only provide medical documentation from an attending physician to prove that they have undergone "clinically apropriate treatment."

“The Vital Statistics Modernization Act eliminates outdated and onerous barriers that transgender people face when trying to update their IDs,” said Masen Davis, Executive Director of the Transgender Law Center. “Having identity documents that match who we truly are is critical to our ability to work, travel, and thrive. We applaud Governor Brown and our lawmakers for prioritizing the health and safety of transgender Californians."

The other bill, Assembly Bill 887, also known as the Gender Nondiscrimination Act, bulks up employment, housing and other civil rights protections for all Californians, but especially for trans people. The bill was authored by Assemblymember Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) and sponsored by Equality California, Transgender Law Center and Gay-Straight Alliance Network.

While California anti-discrimination laws already define “gender” to include a person’s gender identity and gender expression, the Gender Nondiscrimination Act provides clarity to those who are victims of unlawful discrimination as well as for business owners, employers and other entities required to comply with the anti-discrimination protections by explicitly enumerating gender identity and expression as protected categories in a number of state codes.

MetroWeekly reports that Brown also dealt with two other LGBT bills yesterday.

Brown signed Seth's Law, which according to Equality California, “will tighten anti-bullying policies in California schools by ensuring that all schools have clear and consistent policies, instituting better training and clearer guidelines for teachers and administrators, and establishing shorter timelines for investigating claims of bullying.”

Brown vetoed the Survey Data Inclusion Act, which required the state to include questions about LGBT identities, including sexual orientation and domestic partnership status among others, on state surveys.

According to Brown, this matter "is better handled" by the "rigorous and thoughtful process" that exists for making those determinations, rather than "the Legislature and Governor."

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