Legislation Streamlining Process for Transgender Californians to Obtain an Updated Birth Certificates Advances

Press Release: The Transgender Law Center



March 23, 2011

Media Contacts:

Masen Davis, Executive Director, Transgender Law Center

Cell: 323-309-0459, masen@transgenderlawcenter.org

Kristina Wertz, Legal Director, Transgender Law Center

Office: 415-865-0176 x 302, kristina@transgenderlawcenter.org

Sacramento – Yesterday, a bill that would alleviate the confusion, anxiety and even danger that transgender people face when they have identity documents that do not reflect who they are, passed the Assembly Judiciary committee in a 7-5 vote.  Authored by Assemblymember Bonnie Lowenthal (D-Long Beach), sponsored by Equality California and co-sponsored by the Transgender Law Center, the Vital Statistics Modernization Act (AB 433), would streamline current law and clarify that eligible petitioners living or born in California can submit a gender change petition in any jurisdiction in the State of California.

The bill would also allow people who were born in or who live in California to use a simplified process that requires medical certification from an attending physician that the individual has undergone “clinically appropriate treatment” to obtain a new birth certificate to reflect their gender.

“The process for transgender individuals to get a birth certificate that accurately reflects their gender is confusing and complicated,” said Geoff Kors, Equality California Executive Director. “AB 433 would streamline the existing process for petitioning for a court order recognizing a change of gender and obtaining an updated birth certificate.  The legislation would also guarantee that these determinations will be made by licensed physicians, not the government and would bring state law in line with federal standards while also alleviating confusion and misinterpretation.”

This change aligns California’s standards to the standards set by the United States Department of State for gender changes on passports.

“Transgender people, like all of us deserve to live with dignity and respect. For transgender people, something as simple as government recognition of their authentic gender identity goes a long way,” said Kristina Wertz, Legal Director for the Transgender Law Center in her testimony before the committee.  “AB 433 is a cost neutral way to ensure that happens.”

California has allowed gender changes on birth certificates for the last 34 years. All but a handful of states allow for gender changes on birth certificates, and the US Department of State allows it for passports and people born on US territory abroad.

“There is no reason to make a federal case out of this,” said Assemblymember Bonnie Lowenthal, D-Long Beach, author of AB 433. “There is a simple legislative fix, and that’s what I’m working on now.” She expressed sympathy for the men and women in New York who have had to resort to a lawsuit to obtain appropriate birth certificates. “I think we can do better for people here.”

Current California law allows transgender people born in or currently residing in California to submit a petition for a court order recognizing a change of gender and the issuance of a new birth certificate.  The current statute states that a gender change petition to be submitted in the jurisdiction of a person’s place of residence, despite the fact that case law has clarified that gender change petitions can also be submitted in the jurisdiction where a person was born.  Additionally, current law conflicts with the medical standard applied by the US Passport Agency and current medical understanding of what is required for gender transition.


The Transgender Law Center is a civil rights organization advocating for transgender communities. The Transgender Law Center uses direct legal services, education, community organizing, and advocacy to transform California into a state that recognizes and supports the needs of  transgender people and their families. www.TransgenderLawCenter.org.

Equality California (EQCA) is the largest statewide lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights advocacy organization in California. Over the past decade, Equality California has strategically moved California from a state with extremely limited legal protections for LGBT individuals to a state with some of the most comprehensive civil rights protections in the nation. Equality California has passed more than 70 pieces of legislation and continues to advance equality through legislative advocacy, electoral work, public education and community empowerment. www.EQCA.org

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Are Newly “Discovered” Miracle Foods Just the Latest Form of Imperialistic Rape of Poor Nations?

Wait, What’s So Great About Quinoa Anyway?

From Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/eatingwell/quinoa-whats-so-great_b_837458.html

By Penelope Wall, Writer/Producer for Social & Interactive Media at EatingWell
March 21, 2011

My parents were back-to-the-land kind of folks, so I grew up eating all sorts of interesting whole grains. But it wasn’t until a few years ago that I actually heard of quinoa (pronounced “KEEN-wah”). And it wasn’t until the last several months that I’ve noticed a growing buzz around this quite petite, mild-flavored grain. Quinoa is everywhere. Some would say it is, in effect, one of the “hot” foods you should be eating this year. (See more trendy foods to watch for here.) But quinoa isn’t exactly new. It was, in fact, a staple in the ancient Incas’ diet. So why has this very old grain been given a new second life in 2011?

Why quinoa and why now?

From a purely visual standpoint, cooked quinoa is more interesting than other whole grains, especially the black and red varieties. It’s beautiful to look at and delicious to eat, with its mild and nutty flavor. Plus, most of us don’t get the recommended amount of whole grains each day (about three 1-ounce servings for women and three and a half to four 1-ounce servings for men). So if you’re trying to eat more whole grains, start with quinoa—it’s one of the quickest and easiest grains to cook up. It’s also gluten-free, so is a “safe” and totally delicious whole-grain option for people trying to avoid gluten in their diet.

Related Link: 23 Gluten-Free Grains & Starches You Should Try

I asked EatingWell deputy food editor Jessie Price for her take on the trend. She said, “As companies from Frito-Lay to McDonald’s scramble to get whole grains into their products and onto their menus, it’s clear that the whole-grain revolution is here. And as part of this revolution, quinoa has taken America by storm. This grain is packed with fiber and protein and, to top it off, it only takes 15 to 20 minutes to cook.”

So there you have it, folks. Quinoa really does have it all. So why not get totally with it and cook some up tonight?

Quinoa’s Global Success Creates Quandary at Home

From The New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/20/world/americas/20bolivia.html?_r=2&partner=rss&emc=rss

Published: March 19, 2011

LA PAZ, Bolivia — When NASA scientists were searching decades ago for an ideal food for long-term human space missions, they came across an Andean plant called quinoa. With an exceptional balance of amino acids, quinoa, they declared, is virtually unrivaled in the plant or animal kingdom for its life-sustaining nutrients.

But while Bolivians have lived off it for centuries, quinoa remained little more than a curiosity outside the Andes for years, found in health food shops and studied by researchers — until recently.

Now demand for quinoa (pronounced KEE-no-ah) is soaring in rich countries, as American and European consumers discover the “lost crop” of the Incas. The surge has helped raise farmers’ incomes here in one of the hemisphere’s poorest countries. But there has been a notable trade-off: Fewer Bolivians can now afford it, hastening their embrace of cheaper, processed foods and raising fears of malnutrition in a country that has long struggled with it.

The shift offers a glimpse into the consequences of rising global food prices and changing eating habits in both prosperous and developing nations. While quinoa prices have almost tripled over the past five years, Bolivia’s consumption of the staple fell 34 percent over the same period, according to the country’s agricultural ministry.

The resulting quandary — local farmers earn more, but fewer Bolivians reap quinoa’s nutritional rewards — has nutritionists and public officials grasping for solutions.

“As it’s exported, quinoa is now very expensive,” said María Julia Cabrerizo, a nutritionist at the Hospital de Clínicas, a public hospital here. “It’s not a food of mass consumption, like noodles or rice.”

Quinoa, domesticated thousands of years ago on Bolivia’s arid high mountain plains and now often misrepresented as a grain, is actually a chenopod, related to species like beets and spinach. Its seeds have a light, nutty taste, and when cooked become almost translucent.

Continue reading at:   http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/20/world/americas/20bolivia.html?_r=2&partner=rss&emc=rss

But Wait…  There is more to the story…

I know, I know why should a bunch of starving indigenous people affect my having all of the latest miracle food that my money can buy.  Fuck them they are semi-human at best and besides they don’t value life the way we enlightened new age privileged Mercedes driving Whole Foods shopping white folks do.

Vegetarian or omnivore there is much to be said for eating food that doesn’t require travel by ships or cargo planes.

As I said though there is more to the story.

Why would the indigenous people of Bolivia be so eager to sell off the food they need to live on?  Is it because they desire to have those bucks to buy an i-Pad II?

In an easy to understand word, “No!”

Y’all know those groups with initial names like the IMF, G20 and WTO?  The ones that red/black anti-globalization groups protest?

You see it is like this, those master of the universe organizations lend all sorts of money to dictators in under developed nations for projects built by American and other G20 nations corporations.  In exchange  these countries take on all this debt, for dubious projects. The dictator gets a huge pile of money for his own personal use, a quid pro quo for helping the G20 rip off the people.

Now a few years later when the dictator decides he has to impose “austerity measures” aka “starve and reduce the working people to slavery measures”, the people may well rise up and run the dictattor’s sorry ass out of the country, or better yet blow his fucking brains out.

But they still owe the money since the G20 isn’t likely to go after the dictator based on the principle of “only the little people have to pay for the sins of their leaders”.

In Bolivia that means Evo Morales has a gun held to his head by those initial groups that represent the interests of the rich imperialistic nations and corporations.  He gets labeled as communist, the same way Hugo Chavez does.  Which is to say he cares more about his people than he does about being a tool of the rich G20 Corporate/nations.

So enjoy the quinoa, don’t think about how buying it makes you complicit in the exploitation of the indigenous people of Bolivia and a supporter of Globalization which is contributing to all sorts of oppression and ecological devastation.

I know that now that I am aware of the whole story on quinoa I won’t buy any unless it has a “Fair Trade” label and even then I might avoid buying it.

New York City: Suits Dispute City’s Rule on Recording Sex Changes

Once upon a time I would have argued against this.  But now utilizing my new standard paradigm measure of “Will this piss off the Christo-Fascists and Republi-Nazis?” I whole heartedly applaud people for doing this.

And why not.  WTF difference does it make, why should I support rigid rules that deprive people of their rights when it doesn’t in any way harm me.

Left wing hippie standard not right wing fascist standards.

From The New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/23/nyregion/23gender.html?_r=1&ref=nyregion

Published: March 22, 2011

Two transgender New Yorkers say that their birth certificates incorrectly identify their sex, subjecting them to awkward and humiliating public moments. So they are suing the city to change a requirement that transgender people have genital surgery to get their sex changed — corrected, as they say — on their birth certificates.

The lawsuits, filed in State Supreme Court in Manhattan on Tuesday on behalf of Sam Berkley and Joann Marie Prinzivalli, argue that the 40-year-old city health code requiring “convertive surgery” to change the sex on a birth certificate is arcane. Convertive surgery has been interpreted to mean the construction of genitalia, according to the lawsuits, brought by the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund. A third transgender resident, Patricia Harrington, has not yet filed papers, but plans to join Mr. Berkley and Ms. Prinzivalli.

“For one thing,” said Noah Lewis, a lawyer for the fund, “it’s expensive, and insurance companies often deny coverage for this.”

Mr. Lewis added: “It’s just a highly individual decision about whether you want to have surgery on your genitals. There are risks with this surgery. People might be more inclined to stick with what they have.”

Mr. Lewis said that 80 percent of transgender women and 95 percent of transgender men in New York have not had the surgery required to get their sex changed on their birth certificates, adding that some people are medically unable to have the surgery. Ms. Prinzivalli, for instance, has medical issues that make her susceptible to blood clots that could cause a stroke or heart attack; she has been told she is not a good candidate for surgery, Mr. Lewis said.

Continue reading at:   http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/23/nyregion/23gender.html?_r=1&ref=nyregion

Toward a Human Rights Approach to Sex Work Policy

From RH Reality Check: http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/blog/2011/03/21/settingglobal-mandate-towardhuman-rights-approach-work-policy

By Kari Lerum
March 22, 2011

Last Friday, March 18, 2011, was a day of celebration for sex worker activists and allies, as well as for global advocates of sexual health, justice, and human rights.  Why the celebration? The United States made public its new position that: “No one should face violence or discrimination in access to public services based on sexual orientation or their status as a person in prostitution.”

The first part of this position regarding sexual orientation was not a surprise. (Despite predictable and periodic right-wing backlashes, GLBT justice movements have continued to make gains at all levels of US society, including increased federal recognition by the Obama administration that sexual orientation is not a valid litmus test for full citizenship.)

The second part of this statement, however – a commitment to uphold the human rights of all sex workers — is completely unprecedented at the federal level of the United States.

The occasion for this public statement on the part of the US was the first Universal Periodic Review (UPR) at the United Nations Human Rights Council. The UPR is new process where the UN community evaluates the human rights record of each member state. Upon its first UPR review in November 2010, the US received 228 recommendations by its global peers for improving its human rights record, including recommendation #86 from member state Uruguay: “undertake awareness-raising campaigns for combating stereotypes and violence against gays, lesbians, bisexuals and [transgender people], and ensure access to public services paying attention to the special vulnerability of [sex] workers to violence and human rights abuses.[i]

Continue reading at:  http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/blog/2011/03/21/settingglobal-mandate-towardhuman-rights-approach-work-policy

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Arizona Passes Anti-Abortion Bill To Send Doctors, Clinicians To Jail For Abortions Based On Race Or Gender

From Think Progress: http://thinkprogress.org/2011/03/23/arizona-race-gender-abortion/

By Tanya Somanader
March 23, 2011

In the race to secure the most destructive state anti-abortion law, Arizona may leap ahead of South Dakota by seeking to tackle a problem that doesn’t exist. In a 41-18 vote last month, the House passed a bill to prohibit abortions sought because of the race or sex of the fetus or the race of the parent. Seeking to prevent “race- or sex-based discrimination against the unborn,” the bill would allow lawsuits and civil fines against “abortion providers who knowingly provide such abortions.”

On Monday, the Arizona Senate passed bill on a 21-5 vote. But unsatisfied with civil fines, the Senate upped the ante by “adding provisions which could send doctors and others involved in these acts to prison.” Now, the bill, which is headed to Gov. Jan Brewer (R), will ensure that any doctor or employees of clinics like Planned Parenthood that terminates a pregnancy based on race or gender would face 3.5 years in jail:

HB 2443 does more than make criminals out of doctors who terminate a pregnancy knowing the woman’s reason is to select the race or gender of the child. It also imposes criminal penalties on anyone who solicits or accepts funds to finance abortions based on race or sex.

Violators would face a presumptive prison term of 3.5 years.

That latter provision is aimed at Planned Parenthood. Proponents of the measure, citing undercover videos, say organization representatives have taken money from individuals interested in limiting births to African American women.

Continue reading at:  http://thinkprogress.org/2011/03/23/arizona-race-gender-abortion/

I just love how the racist scumbag Republi-Nazis are trying to create separation between women/people of color and progressive organizations that actually support them instead of issuing a constant stream of misogyny and racism the way Republi-Nazis do.

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More Evidence that the Republicans Hate the Ordinary Hard Working American People

Maine Governor Orders Mural Depicting Labor History Removed From Labor Department

From Talking Points Memo: http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/03/maine-governor-orders-mural-depicting-labor-history-removed-from-labor-department.php

Benjy Sarlin
March 23, 2011

It’s Diego Rivera Redux in Maine, as Governor Paul LePage is taking down a mural in the state Department of Labor building depicting the history of the labor movement and changing the names of conference rooms that he deems too pro-labor.

The 11-panel installation depicted such figures as Rosie the Riveter and FDR-era Labor Secretary Francis Perkins as well as events like a 1937 shoe mill strike and 1986 paper mill workers’ strike. Several rooms are named after historic labor figures including Perkins and Cesar Chavez.

A spokesman for LePage told the Lewiston Sun Journal that business had complained about the piece and “The message from state agencies needs to be balanced.” He added that the rooms could instead be named “after mountains, counties or something.”

Progressive and labor groups are upset about the change and the artist who painted it, Judy Taylor, told the paper that the mural’s message was already fair.

“There was never any intention to be pro-labor or anti-labor,” she said. “It was a pure depiction of the facts.”

Continue reading at:   http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/03/maine-governor-orders-mural-depicting-labor-history-removed-from-labor-department.php

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Human Rights Council Statement on Ending Violence Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity


Press Statement

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
March 22, 2011


Today, 85 countries from every region of the world joined together in a historic moment to state clearly that human rights apply to everyone, no matter who they are or whom they love.

The United States, along with Colombia and Slovenia, took a leading role on this statement along with over 30 cosponsors. Countries around the world participated including many that had never supported such efforts. And we hope that even more countries will step up, sign on to the statement and signal their support for universal human rights.

This statement is an example of America’s commitment to human rights through dialogue, open discussion and frank conversation with countries we don’t always agree with on every issue. In Geneva, our conversations about the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals with countries where sexual orientation is not only stigmatized, but criminalized, are helping to advance a broader and deeper global dialogue about these issues.

As I said last June, gay rights are human rights and human rights are gay rights. We will continue to promote human rights around the world for all people who are marginalized and discriminated against because of sexual orientation or gender identity. And we will not rest until every man, woman and child is able to live up to his or her potential free from persecution or discrimination of any kind.

PRN: 2011/450