The legislative effort to remove male gendered language in California law is on its way to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s desk, because state law “contains outdated terminology and gendered terms.”
“AB 378, sponsored by the Lieutenant Governor, Eleni Kounalakis, updates woefully outdated, and gender specific codes sections. It systematically goes through laws related to the offices the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State, State Controller, Treasurer, Insurance Commissioner, and Board of Equalization to make all references to the gender of the officer gender neutral. Currently, in many parts of our code these constitutional office holders are only referred to as ‘he’ or ‘him,’” says California Assemblywoman Rebecca Bauer-Kahan on her website, who calls the legislation her “equity” package.
However, bill analyses do not specify what gender-neutral words will replace “he” and “him” and “his.”
Bauer-Kahan is also the chairwoman of the nation’s first and only Select Committee on Women’s Reproductive Health. She says “reproductive health care is under attack across the nation,” therefore “the California legislature continues to demonstrate its commitment to protecting and expanding access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health care.”
In 2019, Bauer-Kahan (D-Orinda) said because of President Trump, “all of our reproductive rights are under attack.”
At the 2019 hearing by the Committee on Women’s Reproductive Health, the “Reproductive Justice Movement” representatives discussed the importance of protecting a “safe environment” for “reproductive autonomy.”
“Reproductive health care needs to be considered health care, not as a different type of health care,” said a doctor from the University of California, San Francisco. The discussion moved on to discuss the importance of allowing 12 and 13-year old girls to be able to “speak to a doctor alone” and how they can “access health care outside of the family.”
“Reproductive health care” is now used as the accepted language for abortion, despite that the goal is the death of an unwanted, unborn baby.
The 2020 Select Committee on Women’s Reproductive Health Informational Hearing on Barriers to Providing Care was held virtually.
Now, Bauer-Kahan’s mission is to eradicate from the California state code references to “he” and “him” and “his” when referring to the attorney general and other statewide elected officials. Notably, Legislative Counsel has already been removing gendered terms from the California Codes.
#HappyPrideMonth! My equality package is headed to @CAgovernor!! #AB378 w/@EleniForCA removes male gendered language in CA law and #AB439 w/@eqca adds nonbinary options to death certificates, so people are respected in their death as they are in life. Proud to carry this fight! pic.twitter.com/NzNJvigXos
— Asm Rebecca Bauer-Kahan (@BauerKahan) June 24, 2021
According to Bauer-Kahan, “By removing the gendered language, this bill successfully updates our laws to be accurate and inclusive.”
The AP reported Friday:
A California law passed two years ago requires school districts to reissue high school diplomas to update a person’s name and gender if it is different since graduation. This year, lawmakers are considering a bill by Assemblyman David Chiu that would do the same thing for college diplomas.
“We have women serving in our highest offices, and the (sections) of the code referring to them only in the male pronoun was pretty shocking to me,” said Bauer-Kahan. “It doesn’t represent where California is and where California is going.”
In 2017, Gov. Jerry Brown signed Sen. Toni Atkins’ SB 179, to add a non-binary gender marker option for driver’s licenses, birth certificates, identity cards and gender change court orders. The bill is the first of its kind in the nation, also allows minors to apply for a gender change on their birth certificate.
This is the other gender legislation the California Legislature has prioritized in 2021, listed on the Legislative LGBTQ Caucus website:
AB-439 (Bauer-Kahan) – Certificates of death: gender identity
This bill codifies inclusive language to allow nonbinary and gender non-conforming Californians to be correctly identifies on their certificates.
AB-1094 (Arambula) – Sexual orientation and gender identity data collection pilot project
Provide California with much-needed data to track violent deaths among the LGBTQ community to help shape policies to reduce the number of these preventable deaths in the future.
AB-218 (Ward) – Change of gender and sex identifier
This bill will help to protect the privacy of transgender people and prevent discrimination when a transgender person enrolls their child in school, applies for a loan, or seeks to make medical decisions on behalf of an incapacitated spouse.
AB-1084 (Low) – Gender neutral retail departments
This bill would require a retail department store with 500 or more employees that sells childcare items, children’s clothing, or toys, to maintain a gender neutral section or area, to be labeled at the discretion of the retailer.
SB-225 (Wiener) – Medical procedures: individuals born with variations in their physical sex characteristics
This bill would prohibit a physician and surgeon from performing certain sex organ modification procedures on an individual born with variations in their physical sex characteristics who is under 6. 12 years of age unless the procedure is a surgery required to address an immediate risk of physical harm.
SB-272 (Laird) – State government: gender-neutral terms: California Conservation Corps
Promotes diversity and inclusivity by updating archaic gender-specific pronouns referencing the California Highway Patrol (CHP) Commissioner.
The LGBTQ Caucus also lists its Priority Budget Requests here.
Ironically, the LGBTQ Caucus website photo has the rainbow flag hung above the recently removed statue of Christopher Columbus with Queen Isabella, the centerpiece of the Capitol rotunda since 1883. The statue was removed after legislative leaders decided it was out of place “given the deadly impact his arrival in this hemisphere had on indigenous populations.”
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