Earlier this month community came together at Crocker Park in Downtown Sacramento to celebrate National Transgender Visibility March. It was a beautiful day with so many powerful speakers, performances, and organizations taking the stage to share what the day meant to them and their hopes for the future.
We were honored to work alongside great partners: Gender Health Center, Trans and Queer Youth Collective, National Trans Visibility March, The LGBTQ+ Capitol Staff Association, Transgender District of San Francisco, Queer Voices, and all the folks who bravely took the stage to speak and perform.
But our work has only just begun. Did you know nearly 70% of our housing clients identify as queer or transgender people of color? Our community needs YOU.
As the Center’s Director of Training and Advocacy, I oversee a number of initiatives that pave the way for a more equitable and just society. It’s critical that we acknowledge our identities, identify the many intersections of our lives, and break down the systems of oppression that harm us and the most marginalized amongst us.
In addition to great events like the National Trans Day of Visibility March, our work encompasses individual advocacy and legal assistance (in partnership with Northern CA Legal Services, Family Justice Center, and McGeorge Law School), public policy and community organizing, our Queer Voices troupe, and our Outreach and Training Institute.
More specifically, we leverage our proximity to the Capitol and testify, build coalitions, and educate community on legislation that may impact our community. The past state legislative session recently closed — and I’m proud to say that we had some key victories!
AB-89 Peace officers: minimum qualifications Requires all peace officers employed by agencies that participate in the Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) program, who are not employed in or enrolled in academy for that position as of 2024, to be at least age 21 and meet specified education requirements.
AB 218 Change of Gender and Sex Identifier Creates, as of January 1, 2023, a process for a petitioner seeking a change of gender to also request that their marriage license and certificate and their children’s birth certificates be reissued with updated information about the petitioner.
AB 245 Educational Equity: student records name and gender changes Requires a campus of the University of California (UC), California State University (CSU), or California Community Colleges (CCC) to update a former student’s records to include the student’s updated legal name or gender if the institution receives government-issued documentation from the student demonstrating that the former student’s legal name or gender has been changed.
AB 439 Certificates of death: gender identity Adds “nonbinary” as a gender identity option on death certificates.
AB 465 Professional fiduciaries: prelicensing and renewal or restoration: education According to the Author “Professional fiduciaries provide critical services to seniors and persons with disabilities. LGBTI communities, religious communities, and ethnic communities’ older adults are some of the most vulnerable populations in our society. Given that LGBTI seniors are less likely to be able to turn to family or other support networks, professional fiduciaries are a good option to obtain the support and care needed later in life.
AB 1094 Sexual orientation and gender identity data collection pilot project Requires the Department of Public Health (DPH) to establish a three-year pilot program in up to six counties (northern, southern and central regions) that agree to participate, for the identification and collection by coroners and medical examiners of gender identity and sexual orientation in cases of violent death. We must begin collecting this data to understand the scope of what’s happening in our LGTBQ community – especially among youth – when it comes to violent deaths, including homicide and suicide.
SB 258 Aging This bill adds human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) status to the list of noneconomic factors that determine “greatest social need” for services under the Older Californians Act (OCA). According to the author, “Ensuring older Californians living with HIV are considered among those with the greatest social need means important programs and services will be more readily available to them.”
SB 272 Gender neutral terms: California Conservation Corps This bill increases the age of eligibility to enroll in a certified community conservation corps from 18-25 to 18-26; and makes changes to specified codes to use gender-neutral language. This bill is consistent with ACR 260 (Low, Resolution Chapter 190, Statutes of 2018) which encouraged the Legislature to engage in a coordinated effort to revise existing statutes and introduce new legislation with inclusive language by using gender-neutral pronouns or reusing nouns to avoid the use of gendered pronouns.
SB 306 Sexually transmitted disease: testing This bill increases access to home STD testing kits, expedited partner therapy, syphilis testing, increases protections for pharmacists that provide expedited partner therapy, and accessibility for rapid HIV testing kits.
SB 129 Budget Act of 2021 Advocacy for numerous provisions including the funding of the TGI Wellness Fund, and funding for LGBTQ+ Cultural Competency Training for Educators.
At the close of our most recent legislative session our Director of Training and Advocacy Alexis summarized a number of initiatives that had an impact on the LGBTQ+ community. Bills that advance our values and were signed into law by the Governor covered issues as diverse as our community. These included legal changes in education, aging and death, sexually transmitted diseases, law enforcement, and more specifically gender and sex identifiers, data collection on LGBTQ+ folks, and gender neutral terms.
Another form of advocacy is the work of our Outreach and Training Institute. We are a subject matter expert on LGBTQ+ competencies and provide educational programs and consultation on a wide variety of sub-topics. We conduct outreach activities and provide training for healthcare providers, schools, law enforcement, social service agencies, faith communities, and large and small employers to create safer and more affirming communities and increase awareness of resources.
We’re proud to share that our longtime friends at the Sacramento Municipal Utilities District recently piloted a new training series with our Institute Director. Help us continue our advocacy!
What first started as an inquiry from their Pride Employee Resource Group quickly became a collective effort between SMUD and the Center to create customized trainings for their executive team, human resources department, and now for their agency staff through lunch and learns!
SMUD is a leading advocate for the LGBTQ+ community and a valued partner of the Center. They have been a longstanding sponsor and hosts of Sacramento Pride and other events and more recently a major funder via SMUD Shine, making critical improvements to facility’s carbon footprint and security. We’re excited to see advocacy amongst our community, and friends, grow. Having learned the many definitions, language, symbols, legal context, privilege, minority stress, and best practices for diversity, equity, and inclusion, we are proud to amplify SMUD’s efforts with a Safe Zone Curriculum and the addition of pronouns to their email signatures!