Transgender nursing home residents are now able to threaten anyone who doesn’t use their preferred gender pronoun with jail time.
Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill on Thursday which makes it illegal to “willfully and repeatedly” refuse “to use a transgender resident’s preferred name or pronouns”. Offenders face a $1,000 fine and up to one year in prison, according to the California Health and Safety code.
Known as the “LGBT Senior Bill Of Rights,” the legislation is currently limited to nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. It also requires nursing homes and care facilities to allow residents to use the bathroom of their choice, regardless of biological sex. The bill’s author, homosexual state Sen. Scott Weiner, argues that religious views are irrelevant in public areas.
“Everyone is entitled to their religious view,” Wiener said. “But when you enter the public space, when you are running an institution, you are in a workplace, you are in a civil setting, and you have to follow the law.”
Wiener also released a statement thanking Brown for signing the bill:
“Our LGBT seniors built the modern LGBT community and led the fight for so many of the rights our community takes for granted today. It is our duty to make sure they can age with the dignity and respect they deserve. I want to thank Governor Brown for joining our coalition in supporting this bill, which will make a real difference in people’s lives. The LGBT Senior Bill of Rights is an important step in our fight to ensure all people are treated equally regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.”
Equality California sponsored the bill, which was co-authored by Assemblymembers David Chiu (D-San Francisco), Sabrina Cervantes (D-Corona), Todd Gloria (D-San Diego), and Ash Kalra (D-San Jose.)
EQCA Executive Director Rick Zbur said in a statement, “LGBTQ seniors fought some of the first and most difficult battles for LGBTQ civil rights and deserve our protection. Many of our elders have no children or other family members to care for them and are especially vulnerable to abuse or neglect in long-term care. SB 219 will help ensure that care facilities provide culturally-competent care.”
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