The LGBTQ community in Los Angeles County, California is safeguarded by a range of civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. The Employment and Housing Equality Act is a key piece of legislation that ensures individuals are not discriminated against in the workplace or when seeking housing. This law also clarifies protections against hate crimes based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression, among other categories. California law recognizes non-conforming and non-binary gender identities and requires employers to respect all gender identities and expressions.
This means that an employee cannot be discriminated against or mistreated for coming forward with their transgender or transitioning status. Furthermore, employers must address employees by their real name and pronouns, regardless of whether they have legally changed their name and gender marker. If an employer consistently misaddresses an employee after being informed of their correct name and pronoun, this could be considered illegal harassment. In addition, employers cannot dictate which bathroom an employee should use, nor can they ask a job applicant about their sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression during an interview. Employers also cannot make a person's gender identity a condition for employment.
Furthermore, California law prohibits discrimination against someone because they are related to an LGBTQ person. When it comes to healthcare, employer-provided health plans and Medi-Cal must cover necessary gender-affirming medical care just as they cover other medically necessary treatments. If an HMO or other managed care plan has denied treatment, individuals can contact the Department of Managed Health Care to appeal. If there is an exclusion under a different type of health plan, individuals can contact the ACLU or another legal organization to understand their options. Unfortunately, in recent years states have introduced a record number of bills that attack the rights of LGBTQ people, especially transgender youth. The ACLU is tracking these attacks and working with their national affiliate network to support LGBTQ people around the world.
The ACLU will not stop speaking out against these cruel attacks across the country. LGBTQ people have the right to live in safety, to thrive and to be treated with dignity. The legal and advocacy team works with ACLU affiliates and local organizations across the country to monitor state legislatures for bills that address the rights of LGBTQ people. Each bill is reviewed by the legal staff of the ACLU LGBTQ HIV Project & before being categorized on this site. These bills attempt to limit the ability to update gender information in IDs and records, such as birth certificates and driver's licenses. This puts transgender people at risk of losing their jobs, suffering harassment, and other harm.
Trans, intersex and non-binary people need IDs that accurately reflect who they are in order to travel, apply for employment and enter public facilities without the risk of harassment or harm. These bills also attempt to undermine and weaken non-discrimination laws by allowing employers, businesses, and even hospitals to reject LGBTQ people or deny them equal treatment. Despite the First Amendment's safeguards of the right to freedom of expression, politicians struggle to restrict how and when LGBTQ people can be themselves, limiting access to books about them and trying to ban or censor performances such as transvestite shows. These bills focus on access to medically necessary health care, such as Medicaid, for transgender people. Many of these bills prohibit the affirmation of care for trans youth and can result in criminal penalties for providing this care. These bills exempt identical treatments offered to cisgender youth or imposed on intersex youth. Other bills block funding for medical centers that offer care that reaffirms the gender perspective or block health care insurance coverage for transgender people.
Public housing bills seek to prohibit transgender people from using facilities such as public restrooms and changing rooms. Everyone should have access to these spaces, regardless of their gender identity or expression. State legislators are also trying to prevent trans students from participating in school activities such as sports, force teachers to expel students, and censor any debate at school about LGBTQ people and issues. Instead of limiting resources, education, and opportunities, our schools must protect and support all students to learn and thrive. These bills don't quite fit into any of the other categories but still focus on the rights of LGBTQ people. Examples include the prohibition of marriage and bills that take precedence over local protections against discrimination. Trans people, our families and our allies are fighting against bills that restrict their rights and their lives.
The ultimate goal of anti-trans legislation is to deny transgender people the words to describe our experience, the means to express it safely, and the community and support we all deserve. The ACLU works tirelessly to ensure that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people can live openly without discrimination and enjoy equal political, economic, social, rights as well as personal autonomy, freedom of expression and association.