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Daily Action: Defend Transgender Rights in CA & DC

Governor Jerry Brown:
(916) 445-2841

Sen. Dianne Feinstein
DC: (202) 224-3841
LA: (310) 914-7300
Sen. Kamala Harris
DC: (202) 224-3553
LA:  (213) 894-5000
Rep. Julia Brownley: 
DC: (202) 225-5811
Thousand Oaks: (805) 379-1779
Rep. Ted Lieu:
DC: (202) 225-3976
LA: (323) 651-1040
Rep. Steve Knight:
DC: (202) 225-1956
Simi Valley: (805) 581-7130

Sample Script for Gov. Brown:
Hello, my name is __________, from _______________, California. I am calling to urge the governor to sign SB 179, the Gender Recognition Act. Our community members who do not identify with binary gender categories must be protected under state law. Making "non-binary" an officially recognized gender will enable thousands of Californians to carry identification that describes them as they identify themselves. It will send a powerful message that America's future must be one of inclusion and protection for gender and sexual minorities. Thank you!

Sample Script for Members of Congress:
Hello, my name is __________, and I am a constituent of Senator/Representative ___________'s in _______________, California. I am calling to urge the Senator/Representative to call for legislation expanding Title VII protections specifically for transgender Americans. Jeff Sessions and the Trump administration have reinterpreted federal civil rights law to exclude transgender identity from its definition of "gender," opening the door for discrimination against trans citizens in the workplace and elsewhere. The application of civil rights in this country must not be left to Trump's bigoted, clearly transphobic Justice Department appointees. Thank you!

On Thursday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions formally declared that Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act does not protect transgender workers from employment discrimination. His decision undoes previous guidance issued by President Obama's Attorney General, Eric Holder, in 2014.

Title VII prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex and national origin. However, in a memo to federal prosecutors, Sessions wrote that "Title VII's prohibition on sex discrimination encompasses discrimination between men and women but does not encompass discrimination based on gender identity per se, including transgender status."

Because the Obama administration extended Title VII protections to trans folks via executive guidance, congressional Democrats have not sought to change the law to include them. In fact, the only bill currently before Congress on the subject is a Republican measure in the House, the transphobic "Civil Rights Uniformity Act," which would remove the power to interpret civil rights law from the executive branch and require an act of Congress before trans rights could be recognized -- an act that would be unlikely to come from a GOP-dominated Congress.

Meanwhile, California Governor Jerry Brown has yet to sign SB 179, the Gender Recognition Act, which has been sitting on his desk for three weeks. The legislation would make California the second state (after Oregon) to legally recognize “non-binary” as a gender for people who do not identify as either male or female. The act also makes it easier for people to change their gender markers on state identification and birth certificates.

In a national survey, 68 percent of transgender Americans reported that none of their IDs reflect their authentic name and gender -- leaving them uncomfortable and even endangered in any encounter with a law-enforcement or airport security officer, a bar bouncer, even a store cashier. The problem is particularly acute for those who identify as non-binary, since almost all state laws offer only "male" and "female" as gender choices, with no provision for a non-binary designation.

The “Civil Rights Uniformity Act” Is Trying to Write Trans People Out of Civil Rights Protections