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Toni Atkins bill passes California Assembly

SACRAMENTO – The California State Assembly on Monday passed the Gender Nondiscrimination Act (AB 877) with bipartisan support by a 54-24 vote.

The bill is authored by freshman Assemblymember Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) and is sponsored by Equality California and the Transgender Law Center. The state Senate will now take up the bill.

AB 887 will strengthen employment, housing, and other civil rights protections for all Californians, especially those who face discrimination based on gender identity and expression.

“I am grateful that my Assembly colleagues on both sides of the aisle joined me today in support of AB 887, the Gender Nondiscrimination Act,” Atkins said. “I am inspired by the devoted work of supporters of this bill – the many youth, transgender advocates, and others who have made their voices heard – and I will continue fighting for this important legislation to become law.”

AB 887 takes existing protections based on gender identity and expression and enumerates them as protected categories in non-discrimination laws. In addition, while California non-discrimination laws already define "gender" to include a person's gender identity and gender expression, the bill clarifies that gender identity and expression are included in the definition of gender and sex in all California codes.

“The rights of all hardworking Californians, including transgender people, must be protected by our state’s laws,” said Jim Carroll, Equality California interim executive director. “The Gender Nondiscrimination Act will reduce the harms caused by discrimination by inserting language into state law that is direct and easily understood. We thank Assemblymember Atkins and allied Assemblymembers for championing this bill. We now ask the State Senate to join in support of this critical piece of legislation.”

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.

“Transgender people and others who don’t fit into narrow gender stereotypes are discriminated against and suffer at school, on the job, and under the law,” said Masen Davis, Executive Director of the Transgender Law Center. “We applaud Assemblymember Atkins and the California Assembly for passing AB 887 to protect students at school and employees at work.”

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.