Monday, October 12, 2009

Governator Vetoes California Bills Affecting Trans People

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) was busy yesterday signing and vetoing a pile of bills sent to him by the California State Assembly.

Two bills affecting and of concern to California trans people were ones that got sent to the veto pile by the Governator.

One of those was AB 1185, filed by Assembly Member Ted Lieu (D-Torrance). It's a bill that would have allowed better access to birth certificates for transgender people.

AB 1185 would have allowed qualified transgender people born in California to return to the county of their birth to obtain a new birth certificate reflecting the correct gender, as well as any accompanying name change.

It would have ensured that transgender people born in California can return to the county of their birth to obtain a corrected birth certificate. It would also have provided greater access to transgender persons living in the state, allowing them for first time to petition the court in their home counties. This legislation would have had no fiscal impact to the state.

Schwarzenegger also vetoed AB 382 which would have established protections for LGBT prisoners, which he said was “unnecessary.”

The measure was sponsored by openly gay Assembly Member Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco) and would have amended the Sexual Abuse in Detention Elimination Act by adding sexual orientation and gender identity to the current list of factors that should be considered in the classification of prisoners for purposes of housing.

According to the Bay Area Reporter, during committee testimony for the bill Ammiano stated, "While anyone can be a victim of sexual violence in prison, typical victims are young, nonviolent, or first-time offenders. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender prisoners or those perceived to be LGBT are also exceptionally vulnerable to violence."

He cited a California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation study that found 67 percent of LGBT prisoners report being sexually assaulted by another inmate, "a rate 15 times higher" than the overall population, explained Ammiano.

Miss Major also testified before the committee in her role as a community organizing director for the TGI Justice Project.

She cited a 2007 University of California Irvine study that showed, "transgender women in California's prison system are 13 times more likely to be sexually assaulted in prison, and that half of all transgender women in prison in this state have been raped."

Um, Governator, seems to me the evidence is overwhelming that when there are cases of GLBT prisoners being raped in California jails at alarming levels, AB 382 was necessary.

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