Transgender identity bill passes in California

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Transgender identity Bill 1121 passed the California Assembly committee on April 16. Headed by Assembly member Toni Atkins and sponsored by the Transgender Law Center as well as Equality California, the bill will guarantee transgender individuals will gain access to identity documents, which will reflect their true gender expression.

The bill will go to the Assembly Appropriation Committee next, for further review. Having identity papers that reflect one’s gender identity are extremely vital. Applying for a job or college, going through a security checkpoint, and using a restroom, are just a few purposes that serve in having accurate identity documents.

“In 2011, the National Transgender Discrimination Survey showed that 44 percent of transgender people reported having been denied service, harassed, or assaulted when presenting identity documents that did not match their gender presentation,” reported San Diego Gay & Lesbian News (SDGLN). 

These are accommodations that non-transgender people receive on a daily basis but do not apply much thought about since they are considered as automatic privileges.

“Many of us wouldn’t think twice when asked to show our ID, but this is a very serious issue for transgender people” Transgender Law Center, Executive Director, Masen Davis said, reported SDGLN. For transgender individuals having documents which contradict their outward appearance can be highly problematic, causing a ripple effect of disadvantages.

The process for requesting a name change is complicated, expensive and potentially dangerous for the individual. In California, an individual who desires a change of name must satisfy the prerequisite of obtaining a court order, accompanied by a $435 fee, before applying for a new birth certificate. The law also requires that a person must publish an intention of name change in the local newspaper, which could lead to potential danger, not to mention, the infringement of privacy.

The passing of this new bill will change all of this.

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