News & Information

LAW & POLICY UPDATES

– California insurance policies now required to cover transgender health care

No more trans-exclusion clauses!  That’s the good word from the Transgender Law Center.

Basically, the regulatory agencies in the state of California have informed companies selling insurance policies in the state of California that they must remove benefit and coverage exclusions related to gender transition as well as limitations based on gender identity or gender expression.

Read more of the details here: http://transgenderlawcenter.org/archives/4273

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 – Current reports and helpful resources from NCTE

The National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) creates numerous reports and resource guides for transgender people.  Visit their web site to find current information about discrimination, student rights, health care reform, housing, etc.

Recently released:

“Voting While Trans” public awareness campaign, which aims to educate and prepare transgender people for how to vote in their state.  New voter ID laws mean that transgender people could face unjust obstacles to voting.  Visit http://www.votingwhiletrans.org/ for more information.

Transgender On-campus Nondiscrimination Information (TONI) Project, the nation’s first online hub for trans students to share trans-affirmative college policies and practices, and exchange ideas for organizing and action.  Join the conversation at http://www.transstudents.org/

Find more resources at:

http://www.transequality.org/Resources/index.html

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HHS: Transgender Patients Protected From Discrimination

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has clarified that sex-based discrimination that is prohibited by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) includes discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sex stereotypes.

Furthermore, the Department has made clear this includes discrimination against transgender people and discrimination based on how masculine or feminine a person presents.  Read more at:  http://www.transgenderlawcenter.org/archives/1433

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APA Issues Official Positions Supporting Access to Care and the Rights of Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming People

The American Psychiatric Association is publicly advocating for access to care and civil rights for transgender patients.  Read their  press release at http://www.transgenderlawcenter.org/archives/1717

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Transgender Pilots Cleared for Takeoff as FAA Changes Rule

The FAA has now instituted a new policy that does not categorically impose onerous psychological tests on transgender pilots. Read more: http://www.transgenderlawcenter.org/archives/1588

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–  LAPD Releases Transgender Inclusive Policies
Transgender Law Center Applauds LAPD for New Transgender Inclusive Policies
LAPD Announces New Stop & Search Policies to Improve Police Interactions with Transgender People

Contact:
Mark Snyder
Communications Manager
Transgender Law Center
mark@transgenderlawcenter.org
office: 415.865.0176 x310   cell: 517.416.0552

LOS ANGELES – Today Transgender Law Center applauded the L.A. Police Department for releasing new policies signed by Chief Beck to address police interactions with transgender individuals.

The new policies instruct police officers to be “respectful, professional, and courteous” to transgender people. Some of the guidelines include:

*  Treat transgender persons in a manner that reveals respect for the individual’s gender identity and gender expression, which includes addressing them by their preferred name and using gender pronouns appropriate to the individual’s gender self-identity and expression;

*  A search or frisk shall not be performed for the sole purpose of determining an individual’s anatomical gender; and

*  Requests to remove appearance-related items, such as prosthetics, clothing that conveys gender identity, wigs, and cosmetics, shall be consistent with requirements for the removal of similar items for non-transgender individuals.

In addition to these instructions for police interactions, the LAPD has announced that they will be revising their Jail Operations Manual to include “the proper processing, housing, custody and protection of transgender individuals.”

“This is a huge victory for transgender people who may interact with the police, and for transgender inmates. It sets a great precedent for police departments nationwide,” said Masen Davis, Executive Director of Transgender Law Center. “We often receive calls from people who have experienced police harassment and experienced violence in prison, so we are thrilled that the LAPD is taking steps to remedy this tragic situation.”

Davis and other Transgender Law Center staff served as members of a Transgender Working Group that was instrumental in recommending the policy changes. Consisting of transgender community advocates and hosted by the L.A. City Human Relations Commission, the Transgender Working Group was founded in 2007 and conducted citywide surveys and hosted a public forum to investigate LAPD interactions with transgender individuals in the City of Los Angeles. The data they collected was then transformed into a set of policy recommendations for the LAPD.

The survey results indicated a strong need for the LAPD’s policy changes: 31% of respondents indicated they were verbally harassed by police; 27% reported being repeatedly called the wrong gender or name by police; and 12% reported physical abuse by police.

For interview please contact Mark Snyder, Communications Manager at mark@transgenderlawcenter.org, or 415.861.0176 ext. 310.

New Policies
https://docs.google.com/open?id=0BxpCwP0UjPjKUklJSXp1OFRGOXc

New Inmate Classification Form
https://docs.google.com/open?id=0BxpCwP0UjPjKNEFmVGctdHBabjg

Transgender Law Center works to change law, policy, and attitudes so that all people can live safely, authentically, and free from discrimination regardless of their gender identity or expression.

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–  Gov. Brown signs two bills re the Transgender Community

Transgender Law Center
Press Release

Governor Brown Signs Bill Strengthening Employment, Housing, & Other Nondiscrimination Laws

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 10, 2011

CONTACTS:
Mark Snyder, Transgender Law Center
(617) 416-0552;  mark@transgenderlawcenter.org

Rebekah Orr, Equality California
(415) 498-0847;  rebekah@eqca.org

Jill Marcellus, Gay-Straight Alliance Network
(516) 313-9659;  jill@gsanetwork.org

Sacramento – Governor Jerry Brown signed into law yesterday Assembly Bill 887, the Gender Nondiscrimination Act, which will strengthen employment, housing and other civil rights protections for all Californians, particularly those who face discrimination based on gender identity and expression. The bill was authored by Assemblymember Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) and sponsored by Equality California, Transgender Law Center and Gay-Straight Alliance Network.

“The Gender Nondiscrimination Act protects all Californians.  No matter your skin color, your age, where you come from or whether you’re gay, straight, or transgender, we are all protected by the same rights,” said Assemblymember Atkins. “We share equal protection in employment, housing, and education.  This bill ensures that no one is left out.”

While California anti-discrimination laws already define “gender” to include a person’s gender identity and gender expression, the Gender Nondiscrimination Act provides 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 by explicitly enumerating gender identity and expression as protected categories in a number of state codes.

“All hardworking people in California, including transgender people, should have an equal opportunity to earn a living and provide for their families,” said Roland Palencia, Executive Director for Equality California. “No one should have to live in fear of being fired from a job or denied housing simply because of who they are. The Gender Non-Discrimination Act ensures that the law is clear and folks who experience discrimination know they are protected. We thank Assemblymember Atkins for authoring this important piece of legislation and Governor Brown for signing the bill into law.”

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 by non-discrimination laws.

“The rights of transgender Californians are coming out of the closet,” said Masen Davis, Executive Director of the Transgender Law Center. “Thanks to the fair-minded legislature and Governor Brown, employment posters and student handbooks will finally inform transgender people of their rights, and educate employers and schools about their responsibilities. It’s about time.”

More than 100 cities in the United States 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.

“All students deserve the opportunity to attend school without fear of discrimination,” said Gay-Straight Alliance Network Interim Executive Director Laura Valdez. “We are grateful to Governor Brown for signing this law to ensure that confusing legal wording will no longer stand between California’s transgender and gender-nonconforming students and their right to a safe learning environment.”

The Transgender Law Center is at the heart of a movement of transgender people, their families and allies who recognize that our struggles for equality and authentic self-expression are all connected and related. www.transgenderlawcenter.org

Gay-Straight Alliance Network (GSA Network) is a national youth leadership organization that empowers youth activists to fight homophobia and transphobia in schools by training student leaders and supporting student-led Gay-Straight Alliance clubs throughout the country. In California alone, GSA Network has brought GSA clubs to 56% of public high schools, impacting more than 1.1 million students at 850 schools. GSA Network’s youth advocates have played a key role in changing laws and policies that impact youth at the local and state level. GSA Network operates the National Association of GSA Networks, which unites more than 30 statewide networks of GSA clubs throughout the country. GSA Network is also the founder of the Make It Better Project, which aims to stop bullying and prevent suicide. www.gsanetwork.org

Equality California (EQCA) is the largest statewide lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights advocacy organization in California. Over the past decade, Equality California has strategically moved California from a state with extremely limited legal protections for LGBT individuals to a state with some of the most comprehensive civil rights protections in the nation. Equality California has passed more than 70 pieces of legislation and continues to advance equality through legislative advocacy, electoral work, public education and community empowerment. www.eqca.org

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Transgender Law Center
Press Release

Governor Brown Signs Bill Streamlining Process for Transgender Californians to Obtain an Updated Birth Certificate

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 10, 2011

CONTACTS:
Mark Snyder, Transgender Law Center
(617) 416-0552; mark@transgenderlawcenter.org

Rebekah Orr, Equality California
(415) 498-0847; rebekah@eqca.org

Sacramento – Governor Jerry Brown signed into law yesterday Assembly Bill 433, the Vital Statistics Modernization Act, which streamlines the process for Californians to obtain and update birth certificates.  The bill was authored by Assemblymember Bonnie Lowenthal (D-Long Beach) and sponsored by the Transgender Law Center and Equality California.

“The government belongs to transgender people as much as it belongs to anyone else,” said Assemblymember Bonnie Lowenthal, D-Long Beach, author of the bill. “California’s records belong to Californians. It’s as simple as that.”

The Vital Statistics Modernization Act brings California law that governs changes to birth certificates, and other identification documents in line with standards set by the United States Department of State for gender changes on passports, alleviating the confusion, anxiety and even danger transgender people often face when seeking changes to identity documents. The law simplifies the current process transgender people must follow to obtain a new birth certificate to reflect their gender, requiring only that transgender individuals receive medical certification from an attending physician that the that they have undergone “clinically appropriate treatment.”

“The Vital Statistics Modernization Act eliminates outdated and onerous barriers that transgender people face when trying to update their IDs,” said Masen Davis, Executive Director of the Transgender Law Center.  “Having identity documents that match who we truly are is critical to our ability to work, travel, and thrive. We applaud Governor Brown and our lawmakers for prioritizing the health and safety of transgender Californians”

“Transgender people, like all Californians, deserve to live with dignity and respect,” said Roland Palencia, Executive Director for Equality California. “Something as simple as government recognition of their authentic gender identity is essential to ensuring transgender Californians can pursue their lives without harassment and fear. We applaud Assemblymember Lowenthal and Governor Brown for their leadership and for making California a more fair and equal state for all Californians.”

The Transgender Law Center is at the heart of a movement of transgender people, their families and allies who recognize that our struggles for equality and authentic self-expression are all connected and related.www.transgenderlawcenter.org

Equality California (EQCA) is the largest statewide lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights advocacy organization in California. Over the past decade, Equality California has strategically moved California from a state with extremely limited legal protections for LGBT individuals to a state with some of the most comprehensive civil rights protections in the nation. Equality California has passed more than 80 pieces of legislation and continues to advance equality through legislative advocacy, electoral work, public education and community empowerment. www.eqca.org

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–  Report from Transgender Law Center on Health Care activism

Organizing for Transgender Health Care: A Guide for Community Clinic Organizing and Advocacy

The Transgender Law Center announces our newest tool for improving access to health care for transgender people!

The Transgender Law Center is excited to announce the publication of our latest guide, Organizing for Transgender Health Care: A Guide for Community Clinic Organizing and Advocacy. Available online for free download, this guide is an amazing tool for activists and allies to use as they work to change the health care system to meet the health needs of transgender people.

The guide highlights accomplishments by transgender activists throughout California. In the guide, we examine each effort and extract key lessons, best practices, and tips that you can use to improve access and quality health care in your community. The guide also includes easy-to-use tools, including:

* sample clinic agreements,
* tips on how to develop and tell your personal story, and
* planning worksheets.

Using this guide will give you a head start on your advocacy efforts. The full guide is available for download at www.transgenderlawcenter.org.

We are excited to hear how you use this in your own community to make change!
Organizing for Transgender Health Care: A Guide for Community Clinic Organizing and Advocacy is a publication of the Transgender Law Center and was made possible with generous support from The California Endowment and The California Wellness Foundation.

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–  New legal guide to assist transgender immigrants

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 27, 2009

Media Contacts:
Victoria Neilson, Esq.
Immigration Equality
w. 212-714-2904 x. 25
vneilson@immigrationequality.org

Kristina Wertz, Esq.
Transgender Law Center
w: 415-865-0135
kristina@transgenderlawcenter.org

Groundbreaking legal guide to assist transgender immigrants

The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) has released the first immigration law practice manual for attorneys representing transgender clients. Immigration Law and the Transgender Client , co-authored by Immigration Equality and the Transgender Law Center (TLC), provides practical advice and information to assist attorneys representing transgender immigrants.

“We are proud to publish this groundbreaking manual dealing with the intersection of two dynamic areas of law – transgender civil rights and immigration law,” said AILA Publications Director Tatia L. Gordon-Troy. AILA is the national association of over 11,000 attorneys and law professors who practice and teach immigration law.

“Every day we hear from transgender immigrants who face incredibly complicated legal issues. From obtaining corrected identity documents, to fighting for marriage recognition, to seeking asylum to escape persecution, transgender immigrants need well-trained legal counsel,” said Victoria Neilson, Legal Director of Immigration Equality.

Transgender immigrants often face overwhelming legal issues, and all too often the attorneys who want to help them, just lack the resources they need. Immigration Law and the Transgender Client addresses unique issues faced by transgender immigrants and those in bi-national relationships, including identity documents, asylum, detention, and marriage-based petitions.

“This area of the law is so specialized that LGBT civil rights attorneys often lack the immigration expertise to properly advise transgender immigrants, and immigration practitioners lack the cultural competence and understanding of transgender legal issues to adequately represent these clients,” said TLC Legal Director Kristina Wertz. “The immigration practice manual seeks to close that gap.”

Edited by Neilson, the manual provides an unprecedented resource for attorneys seeking information about the unique needs and issues faced by transgender clients. “Victoria Neilson’s expertise in this field is now more accessible to immigration attorneys and will foster a new cadre of attorneys with similar expertise,” said Gordon-Troy.

Immigration Law and the Transgender Client can be purchased from the American Immigration Lawyers Association at http://aila.stores.yahoo.net/transgender.html for $69 ($49 for AILA members). An online version can be accessed at http://www.immigrationequality.org/template3.php?pageid=1135 .

Immigration Equality is a national organization that works to end discrimination in U.S. immigration law, to reduce the negative impact of that law on the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and HIV-positive people, and to help obtain asylum for those persecuted in their home country based on their sexual orientation, transgender identity or HIV-status.

The Transgender Law Center (TLC) is a civil rights organization advocating for transgender communities. TLC uses direct legal services, education, community organizing, and advocacy to transform California into a state that recognizes and supports the needs of transgender people and their families.
http://www.transgenderlawcenter.org

Transgender Law Center and Immigration Equality would like to thank The Arcus Gay and Lesbian Fund for their support of this project. http://www.arcusfoundation.org

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