Declaring their support for what they called a defining civil rights issue, California lawmakers on Tuesday signed a pledge to protect the rights of transgender people.
The pledge commits anyone who signs to “oppose any efforts to single out transgender or gender non-conforming Californians for discrimination or disrespect.” At a rally accompanying the signing, lawmakers and advocates noted transgender people are disproportionately likely to live in poverty and face violence, including murder.
“Transgender Americans, transgender Californians continue to face outright discrimination, bigotry and violence – violence that has resulted on numerous occasions in death,” said Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles, arguing it’s incumbent on heterosexuals to “look from within” and support trans people. “Living your truth is something to be celebrated,” he said.
Transgender-friendly policies have found traction in California. In 2013 Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill allowing students to use the bathrooms or join the teams corresponding to their gender identities. This year, a bill to make all single-stall public restrooms open to people of any gender has advanced steadily.