San Diego Assemblymember Toni Atkins authored the Gender Nondiscrimination Act (AB 877), which is sponsored by Equality California and the Transgender Law Center, and introduced it to the State Assembly, which voted to pass the bill on Monday. The bill had bipartisan support.
The bill would strengthen anti-discrimination laws in California to better and more clearly protect transgender people from discrimination in employment, housing and other civil rights. The bill adds language to existing laws that specifically prohibits discrimination based on gender identity and expression.
There are already laws protecting against discrimination based on gender, but the goal of this law is to expand the definitions of gender and gender discrimination in state laws in order to better protect Californians who might not fit into narrower definitions of gender.
Transgender workers who face discrimination at their place of employment might better realize that the law protects them from discrimination if the terms gender expression and gender identity are more specifically included in the wording of anti-discrimination laws. The bill also changes the definition of sex and gender to include gender identity and expression, which further strengthens the anti-discrimination measures.
The added wording would also make the laws clearer to employers. San Diego already has specific prohibitions against discrimination based on gender expression or gender identity, but California's laws overall could be strengthened. Many transgender people across the state routinely experience discrimination based on their gender identity and expression, and they should know that the state protects them from this discrimination.
Now that the bill was passed by the State Assembly, it is headed to the California Senate.
Toni Atkins bill passes California Assembly (San Diego Gay & Lesbian News)