On Monday, May 2nd, more than 60 members of the transgender community and allies from throughout California gathered at the state Capitol to participate in the Transgender Law Center’s second Transgender Advocacy Day. After a day of training, community members met with 68 state legislators in Sacramento to raise awareness about issues affecting transgender and gender non-conforming Californians. In the morning, participants were joined by Senators Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) and Leland Yee (D-San Francisco), Assemblymembers Toni Atkins (D-San Diego), Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco), and Bonnie Lowenthal (D-Long Beach) during a rally and press conference.

“The emotional, physical and financial stresses transgender people face are so severe that it will take a movement of fair-minded people working together to protect and secure our shared commitment to human dignity,” said Masen Davis, executive director for the Transgender Law Center. “As a transgender man myself, it is incredibly powerful to see so many transgender people and our allies in Sacramento. Creating a culture where it is both unpopular and rare for trans and other people who don’t fit narrow gender stereotypes to be bullied, beaten or harassed will free all people to live their lives fully and authentically.”

During their meetings with state legislators, participants discussed the Gender Nondiscrimination Act, AB 887 (Atkins), which calls for strengthening anti-discrimination protections in the work place and ensures equal access to employment and housing opportunities. Participants also discussed the Survey Data Inclusion Act, SB 416 (Kehoe), which would add voluntary questions to statewide surveys on sexual orientation, gender identity and expression and relationship status for same-sex couples in order to gather essential health and safety data on LGBT Californians.

“Every Californian deserves equal rights and protections, including members of the transgender community who often face discrimination in housing, employment and other areas,” said Jim Carroll, interim executive director for Equality California Institute. “By strengthening our state’s nondiscrimination laws, California will be able to improve the lives and working conditions of thousands of people. We owe a great deal of gratitude to the courageous women and men who have come to Sacramento to share their personal stories and our allied lawmakers for championing equal rights for all.”

“Transgender women and men deserve equal rights and protections just like every other Californian,” said Vicki Estrada, President of Estrada Land Planning. “As a business owner and member of the transgender community, I know firsthand how important it is for employers and employees to fully understand our state’s nondiscrimination laws. We thank the elected officials who opened their doors today and listened to us talk about the importance of strengthening the rights of transgender Californians.”