Assembly Judiciary Committee Passes Gender Nondiscrimination ActBreaking News, Top Highlights Wednesday, April 6th, 2011
The Assembly Judiciary Committee today passed the Gender Nondiscrimination Act (AB 877) by a 7-1 vote. The bill was authored by Assemblymember Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) and is sponsored by Equality California and co-sponsored by the Transgender Law Center. AB 887 seeks to strengthen employment, housing and other civil rights protections for transgender people and others who do not fit narrow gender stereotypes.
“I am very pleased that the Gender Nondiscrimination Act advanced today,” said Assemblymember Atkins. “This bill affirms that California does not discriminate, and it is an important step to ensure equal protection under the law for all Californians.”
AB 887 takes existing protections based on gender identity and expression and enumerates them as protected categories in non-discrimination laws. In addition, the bill clarifies that gender identity and expression are included in the definition of gender and sex in all California codes.
“Transgender Californians need and deserve non-discrimination protections; to be treated the same way as everyone else,” said Equality California Interim Executive Director Jim Carroll. “This bill would ensure that all Californians, including transgender people, are protected equally under employment and housing non-discrimination laws. In addition, by being clear about what the law requires, it will reduce litigation and costs to employers, landlords, and others.”
California non-discrimination laws already define “gender” to include a person’s gender identity and gender expression. AB 887 specifically enumerates gender identity and gender expression in order to simplify compliance with existing legal protections.
“All hardworking people in California, including transgender people, should have the chance to earn a living and provide for their families,” said Masen Davis, Executive Director of the Transgender Law Center in his testimony before the committee. “The Gender Nondiscrimination Act would strength existing protections and ensure that confusing legal language does not come between transgender people and our rights.”
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.
“AB 887 is a critical and important law, not only for transgender people, but for all Californians,” said Vicki Estrada, President of Estrada Land Planning. “As a business owner, I know firsthand how important it is for employers to fully understand our state’s nondiscrimination laws. We welcome the clarifying of state laws because we know how important it is to ensure every worker’s dignity and basic rights. My company’s success depends on the health and safety of my employees.”
More than 100 cities across America and hundreds of employers already provide clear non-discrimination protections based on gender identity and gender expression. Cities that list them as separate protected categories in non-discrimination ordinances include Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Santa Cruz, Oakland and West Hollywood.
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