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New Bills Affect Transgender Rights by Prohibiting Discrimination

A bill sponsored by the Transgender Law Center and Equality California was signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown. The bill, Vital Statistics Modernization Act, makes changing ones birth certificate more simple for transgender Californians. Another bill, the Gender Nondiscrimination Act, was also signed by the governor and it adds to existing protection from discrimination for California residents who identify as transgender.

The Vital Statistics Modernization Act has been touted as a strong step to reducing the difficulty that transgender residents face with documents required by the state. The process for a person looking to change his or her gender on a birth certificate is streamlined. The only documents necessary to make the change is a note from a medical professional stating that the person has "undergone 'clinically appropriate treatment'," the Huffington Post reported.

The Executive Director of the sponsor organization Transgender Law Center said, "Having identity documents that match who we truly are is critical to our ability to work, travel and thrive." The difficulty to travel around the U.S. or internationally by plane is especially difficult for a person who has changed genders due to the scrutiny faced at security checkpoints.

The other bill changed the definitions under the law to bolster the protections against discrimination for transgender men and women. The Transgender Law Center said that these changes "provide[s] clarity to those who are victims of unlawful discrimination as well as for business owners, employers and other entities required to comply with the anti-discrimination protections..." Anyone who is discriminated against on the basis of gender or sexual orientation should speak with an employment law attorney.

Source: Huffington Post, "California Transgender Bills Signed Into Law By Governor Jerry Brown," 10/10/11

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