Governor Brown announced Sunday that two important transgender bills have been signed into California law, making the state less discriminatory against its transgender population. The first passed law, the Gender Nondiscrimination Act, will protect transgender people against discrimination in the workplace, school, housing, and other public settings. The second law, the Vital Statistics Modernization Act, will allow transgender people to protect their gender through a court-ordered change.
The laws, AB 443 and AB 887 is an epic movement for transgender people in California since it now legally protects the group.
“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),” said Assemblymember Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego) prior to the law’s passing.
Atkins added: “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.”
Atkins explained the bill was proposed because of its aim to reduce discrimination with legal language that is “direct and easily understood” so employers, housing officials, and other groups can adhere to laws that now protect the group.
The laws are an important stride for transgender people in California, and will help set example for other states considering transgender protection through instituted laws.