Gov. Gavin Newsom signs several bills providing support, protection for LGBTQ+ Californians

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Sunday, September 24, 2023
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SACRAMENTO (KGO) -- Gov. Gavin Newsom signed multiple pieces of legislation Saturday, strengthening protections and supports for LGBTQ+ Californians, including measures to support vulnerable youth better.

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The measures include AB 5, which sets implementation timelines for required LGBTQ+ cultural competency training by public school teachers and staff; SB 857, which will establish an advisory task force to identify LGBTQ+ pupil needs statewide and assist in implementing supportive initiatives; and AB 223, which requires any petition for a change of gender and sex identifier by a minor to be kept confidential by the court.

"California is proud to have some of the most robust laws in the nation when it comes to protecting and supporting our LGBTQ+ community, and we're committed to the ongoing work to create safer, more inclusive spaces for all Californians," said Newsom in a statement. "These measures will help protect vulnerable youth, promote acceptance, and create more supportive environments in our schools and communities."

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Newsom also signed SB 407, which directs the Department of Social Services to amend the foster care vetting process to ensure LGBTQ foster youth are not placed in hostile foster homes. The bill will strengthen the resource family approval (RFA) process for LGBTQ foster youth by requiring an assessment of a family's ability and willingness to meet the needs of a child, regardless of the child's sexual orientation or gender identity.

"LGBTQ youth deserve a supportive and affirming home the same as any other child," said California Senator Scott Wiener, who authored the bill, in a written statement. "I'm proud that California is taking this step to expand support for LGBTQ youth at a time when elected leaders in other states are targeting them with cruel restrictions and hate."

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Wiener's office shared that more than 30% of foster youth identify as LGBTQ. Anxiety, depression, and suicidal ideation - which already afflicted LGBTQ youth disproportionately - are on the rise amid a nationwide onslaught of attacks on LGBTQ youth's rights.

Over 400 anti-LGBTQ bills have been filed in states across the country this year alone, and LGBTQ youth are exposed to the bigotry behind them via social media.

The degree of support for their identity an LGBTQ child receives at home is a strong predictor of their mental health outcomes. According to the Trevor Project, teens who perceived parental support regarding gender identity were 93% less likely to attempt suicide than youth who did not perceive parents as supportive.

The full list of bills signed by the governor can be found below:

  • AB 5 by Assemblymember Rick Chavez Zbur (D-Los Angeles) - The Safe and Supportive Schools Act.
  • AB 223 by Assemblymember Christopher Ward (D-San Diego) - Change of gender and sex identifier.
  • AB 760 by Assemblymember Lori Wilson (D-Fairfield) - Public postsecondary education: affirmed name and gender identification.
  • AB 783 by Assemblymember Philip Ting (D-San Francisco) - Business licenses: single-user restrooms.
  • AB 994 by Assemblymember Corey Jackson (D-Moreno Valley) - Law enforcement: social media.
  • SB 372 by Senator Caroline Menjivar (D-San Fernando Valley/Burbank) - Department of Consumer Affairs: licensee and registrant records: name and gender changes.
  • SB 407 by Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) - Foster care: resource families.
  • SB 760 by Senator Josh Newman (D-Fullerton) - School facilities: all-gender restrooms
  • SB 857 by Senator John Laird (D-Santa Cruz) - Advisory task force: LGBTQ+ pupil needs.