|Transgender Law Center Executive Director Masen Davis.
Today, legal fairness and justice for transgender Californians is a reality. Last year, Governor Brown signed two bills that the Transgender Law Center co-sponsored, AB887 and AB433. As of now, they have become law.
AB 887, the Gender Nondiscrimination Act, authored by Assemblymember Toni Atkins, strongly clarifies the existing employment, housing, and other civil rights protections for all Californians. The law makes it clear that discrimination is not legal in California.
AB433, the Vital Statistics Modernization Act, authored by Assemblymember Bonnie Lowenthal, streamlines the process for Californians to obtain and update birth certificates.
In other news, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) has published the 2012 Corporate Equality Index (CEI), which evaluates the inclusiveness of corporate policies towards LGBTQ people. The most striking findings this year pertain to the huge increase in transgender inclusive policies, particularly those offering health care coverage to transgender employees.
The Transgender Law Center is highlighting several key findings in the report: 80% of rated employers include gender identity protections in their nondiscrimination policies. Back in 2002, when the CEI began, it was only 5%. Today, over 200 major US businesses include transgender-inclusive health care coverage that provides medically necessary transition-related care, tripling since last year. 50% of Fortune 500 companies now include gender identity in their employment nondiscrimination policy, a dramatic growth of 1,567% since 2002.
In the last year, Transgender Law Center has worked to change laws, worked with numerous public and private employers to improve internal polices, and educated employers on obtaining equitable health benefits. Most recently, Transgender Law Center helped Google develop and implement a comprehensive health insurance plan for transgender employees that includes transition-related care. It is considered to be a â€śgold standardâ€ť role model.
â€śWhile transgender people, especially people of color, continue to face discrimination at every level of society, we are inspired to see that more than ever, businesses are realizing that healthy employees whose human dignity is respected make for a more motivated workplace,â€ť said TLC Executive Director Masen Davis. â€śWe extend our deepest thanks to all of the companies who have courageously stepped up for equality, and we applaud the Human Rights Campaign and all the other organizations who were the catalyst for this wave of equality. We feel more energized than ever to make sure 100% of companies offer equal protections and health care coverage to transgender people. An end to discrimination in the workplace will transform the lives of thousands of struggling families.â€ť
â€śThese laws signify a monumental shift in our movement,â€ť Davis continued. â€śWe are making great strides. However, we know that we have a lot of work to do to make sure every employer, landlord, and organization knows that discrimination is not legal. We also know that there is a lot of work to do to create a society that celebrates people regardless of their gender identity or expression.
Transgender Law Center is a civil rights organization advocating for transgender communities. Transgender Law Center uses direct legal services, education, community organizing, and advocacy to create a world that recognizes and supports the needs of transgender people and their families.
Davis urged people to contact the center at (415) 865-0176 if they encounter difficulty obtaining identity documents that accurately reflect their gender identity, or if they experience discrimination. Davis said, â€śWe are here to help.â€ť