Urgent Alert – California SB 179, Gender Recognition Act

California legislators need to hear from you about this proposed gender identity bill. Here’s background on the bill and contact information for the state senators who will meet to discuss it very shortly.

BACKGROUND

Next Monday morning, May 8, the California state senate Appropriations Committee will hold a hearing on Senate Bill 179, dubbed the “Gender Recognition Act.” Here are the lowlights of this bill:

Locks vague and unscientific terms relating to gender ideology into the law

SB 179 conflates the terms sex and gender, endorses the concepts of “gender identity” and “gender transition,” and reflects the false notion that people are capable of changing sex (or “gender”) through clinical treatment or otherwise. None of these terms are defined in the bill. While some of these terms are used in current law, SB 179 locks these unscientific concepts into new expanded provisions, and expressly allows people to obtain a court “judgment recognizing the change of gender to female, male, or nonbinary.

Allows revision of birth records based solely on self-declared gender identity

Currently people can request a change to the “gender” designation on their birth records only when they present documentation of having “undergone clinically appropriate treatment for the purpose of gender transition,” after which the designation can be changed to reflect the person’s so-called “correct sex.” SB 179 deletes this requirement and allows people to obtain a change of their birth records by merely submitting “an affidavit attesting under penalty of perjury that the request for a change of gender to (female, male, or nonbinary) is to conform the person’s legal gender to the person’s gender identity and is not made for any fraudulent purpose.”

Of course, no court or state official could ever question the sincerity or truthfulness of a person’s subjective claims of “gender identity,” absent an open (and highly unlikely) confession of fraudulent purposes. Even convicted sex offenders can change their identities, and the bill even makes it possible for change of sex/gender designation of a minor child to be done against a parent’s wishes. In short, any man can have his legal identity changed based solely on his claim to identify as a woman or as nonbinary.

Makes it easier to get accurate information about a person’s sex and identity placed under seal

Existing law allows people seeking a name change to request that the papers associated with the request be placed under seal only if the request meets a series of strict prerequisites, including a showing that there is “an overriding interest that overcomes the right of public access to the record.”

SB 179 appears to place a heavy thumb on the scale for allowing a person’s accurate sex and original name to be placed under seal and made inaccessible to law enforcement and members of the public, because the official legislative findings in the bill claim that “[g]ender identification is fundamentally personal.”

DECISION MAKERS

These are the members of the Appropriations Committee, who’ll be meeting to discuss the bill next Monday morning, May 8, 2017.  See below for ideas to highlight in educational outreach.

Senator Ricardo Lara (Chair) – 916-651-4033
Senator Patricia Bates (Vice Chair) – 916-651-4036
Senator Jim Beall916-651-4015
Senator Steven Bradford 916-651-4035
Senator Jerry Hill916-651-4013
Senator Jim Nielsen916-651-4004
Senator Scott Wiener 916-651-4011

HIGHLIGHTS

  • While the state has a vital interest in keeping accurate records about a person’s legal identity including their biological sex at birth, the state has no legitimate interest in giving legal credence to unscientific claims about “gender identity.”
  • Allowing people to place this vital information under seal creates serious risk of harm to past and potential future victims of sex offenders, stalkers, and frauds. This primarily places women and children at risk of harm from violent or fraudulent men.
  • Allowing people to turn their former identities into state secrets will create havoc in the state’s legal records and family courts.
  • Never before in human history has an individual’s biological sex been considered private information. Even babies learn to tell the difference between men and women before they’re old enough to talk. If a fact about a person can be known by, and known about, a pre-verbal infant, the state is making a truly extraordinary claim to insist that knowing this fact causes actionable damage.