LYNN LA • MARCH 27, 2023
In some ways, there are two Californias.
Depending on your values and political views, the state is either a bastion of diversity and inclusion, or a treacherous place for minorities and marginalized groups.
On one side, many in California embrace its diversity with open arms. Today, advocates and lawmakers will kick off the Transgender Week of Visibility. Throughout the week, expect state legislators to show their support for the LGBTQ+ community by sporting slogan buttons and attending celebratory events.
- Tony Hoang, executive director of Equality California, in a statement: “The trans community deserves to live their authentic lives without the fear of harassment or violence. We are proud to join… the Capitol community to send a strong message that trans people belong and will never be erased.”
Various showings of solidarity and inclusion towards the transgender and gender non-conforming communities have also taken place elsewhere throughout the state. A week ago, the Sacramento City Unified School District board raised the transgender pride flag and a day later, San Jose City Council began its meeting with a brief musical number sung by a local drag artist.
In the Legislature, the Assembly judiciary committee recently passed a bill that would seal the records of anyone petitioning to change their gender if they are younger than 18 years old. Last September, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill to make California a refuge for minors seeking gender-affirming healthcare.
This focus on inclusion isn’t totally surprising. Because of new districts and more open seats, California’s Legislature has become more diverse than ever. The state has become the first to achieve proportional LGBTQ+ representation in its Legislature, and a record number of women are serving. With Friday marking the end of Women’s History Month, we’ve witnessed several events, including ones held by the California Legislative Women’s Caucus and the Public Policy Institute of California, celebrating women in government.
But there is another side of California.
It’s also a place where a rally against transgender healthcare was held at the state Capitol and where anti-semitism is on the rise. According to the Anti-Defamation League, California ranks second in the number of anti-semitic incidents, with a 41% increase from 2021 to 2022.
This falls in line with earlier trends of rising rates of hate crimes. From 2020 to 2021, hate crimes against Black, Hispanic, and Asian individuals rose across the board in California, with a 177% marked increase in Anti-Asian hate crimes, due in part to the COVID pandemic.
As for policy, 429 anti-LGBTQ+ bills have been introduced throughout the country, according to Equality California. This includes one authored by Assemblymember Bill Essayli, a Republican from Riverside, which would require teachers to notify parents if their child is transgender.
- Essayli, in a series of tweets: “Children are the domain of their parents, not the government. Schools cannot decide what information should or shouldn’t be shared with parents… Keeping parents in the dark is not just wrong, but dangerous to these minors.” LGBTQ
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