California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed two pro-transgender equality bills into law on Oct. 9. Masen Davis, the executive director of the Transgender Law Center, announced on Twitter that Brown had signed the two bills into law, both of which had been advocated for this session by the organization.
From the TLC news release:
Governor Brown just signed two important transgender rights bills into law. The first, the Gender Nondiscrimination Act, brings transgender rights out of the closet in California - making "gender identity and expression" its own protected category at work, at school, in housing, at public accommodations and in other settings. The second, the Vital Statistics Modernization Act, makes it easier for transgender people to get a court-ordered gender change and updated birth certificate. It's a big day for transgender folks in California!
A news release from Brown's office confirms this news, noting that the governor signed several bills, including:
• AB 433 by Assemblymember Bonnie Lowenthal (D-Long Beach) – Birth certificates: issuance.
• AB 887 by Assemblymember Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego) – Gender.
According to Assemblymember Atkins's news release announcing her introduction of the bill, prior to A.B. 887's passage, "California laws protect people from discrimination based on gender identity and gender expression [because] California non-discrimination laws define 'gender' to mean sex including a person's gender identity (how they seem themselves) and gender expression (how other people see them)."
However, she also noted:
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 such, the bill was proposed because, she writes, "Existing non-discrimination laws are confusing and vague for employers, housing authorities and others who bear the responsibility of ensuring that the laws are enforced. Therefore the harms caused by discrimination can be reduced by simply using language that is direct and easily understood."
[UPDATE: Brown, early in the morning on Oct. 10, also signed one other bill into law advocated for by LGBT advocates, while vetoing a fourth bill. Brown, according to his office's news release, signed:
• AB 9 by Assemblymember Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco) – Pupil rights: bullying.
More information on the bill, called Seth's Law, can be found at Equality California's website.
However, he vetoed:
• SB 416 by Senator Christine Kehoe (D-San Diego) – Health: survey.
In a veto message, Brown wrote that determining content of state health surveys "is better handled" by the "rigorous and thoughtful process" that exists for making those determinations, rather than "the Legislature and Governor." More information about the bill can be found at Equality California's website.]