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California governor signs ‘Seth’s Law’ anti-bullying measure, two transgender rights bills

Monday, October 10, 2011

SACRAMENTO — California Governor Jerry Brown (D) on Sunday signed “Seth’s Law,” an anti-bullying measure aimed at giving public schools tools to prevent and address bullying through mandatory policies, and systems to help discourage harassment and track incidents when they do occur. The governor also signed two significant transgender rights bills.

The anti-bullying bill (AB 9), introduced by openly gay Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco), is named for Seth Walsh, a 13-year-old gay teen who committed suicide in September 2010 after enduring years of bullying due to his sexual orientation.

The new law mandates that schools post anti-bullying policies throughout campuses, provide complaint forms on their websites, and give schools a timeline to investigate and resolve complaints.

Seth endured years of relentless bullying and verbal abuse at his Tehachapi, Calif. school. On Sept. 19, 2010, Seth hanged himself from a tree in the family’s backyard after being bullied, threatened and assaulted by at least three teenage boys in a park earlier that afternoon. He died nine days later.

Seth’s mother and close friends reported that teachers and school administrators were aware that Seth was being harassed and, in some instances, participated in the harassment. One teacher allegedly called Seth “fruity” in front of an entire class, and students regularly called him “fag” and “queer.”

On July 1, federal investigators concluded that the Tehachapi Unified School District failed to “adequately investigate or respond appropriately” to reports that Seth was being bullied.

The law, which takes effect in July 2012, also requires schools to have a system in place to ensure all reports of bullying are taken seriously and addressed immediately.

The governor also signed AB 620, which will require public colleges and universities to improve the campus climate for LGBT students by providing access to student services and by adding sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression to campus anti-discrimination policies.

Brown signs transgender rights bills

Governor Brown has also signed into law two significant transgender rights bills.

The first measure, entitled the Gender Nondiscrimination Act (AB 887), makes “gender identity and expression” its own protected category at work, at school, in housing, at public accommodations, and in other settings. The second, the Vital Statistics Modernization Act (AB 433), makes it easier for transgender people to get a court-ordered gender change and updated birth certificate.

“This law will alleviate the confusion, anxiety and even danger that transgender people face when we have identity documents that do not reflect who we are,” said Masen Davis, Executive Director of the Transgender Law Center. “Our victory is a testament that California is at its best when we work together to realize the ideal that everyone should be treated fairly and equally>”

The California Dream Act was also signed into law, a move lauded by LGBTQ student activists across the state who had led the campaign to push this immigrant education rights bill through the state’s political process.

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Filed under: California

17 more reader comments:

  1. bet the GOP wait to take over CA to repeal these bills…in the name of Jesus of course

    Posted on Monday, October 10, 2011 at 7:33pm
  2. I’m so sick of gay/lesbian kids getting bullied!!!!!!!!!1I hope this helps in keeping our LGBTQ youth protected.

    Posted on Monday, October 10, 2011 at 7:35pm
  3. It’s about fucking time!

    Posted on Monday, October 10, 2011 at 7:42pm
  4. Wonderful news!!!

    Posted on Monday, October 10, 2011 at 7:43pm
  5. NOH8 Campaign. Everyone this is a great page to join if you get a chance! We need to stop all the hate!!

    Posted on Monday, October 10, 2011 at 7:44pm
  6. THANK GOD

    Posted on Monday, October 10, 2011 at 7:47pm
  7. no, thank people, god had no hand in this

    Posted on Monday, October 10, 2011 at 7:51pm
  8. lol Robert, if that were a Las Vegas bet…. But I’m still glad to hear that at least on of 49 triumphs have been issued.

    Posted on Monday, October 10, 2011 at 7:57pm
  9. Amen Christine!!

    Posted on Monday, October 10, 2011 at 7:58pm
  10. I commend the Governor so much for taking this stand and helping make advances for LGBTQ people. I hope that other lawmakers see his example and follow in his footsteps to make things better for LGBTQ people everywhere. Thank you Governor Jerry Brown for standing with us.

    Posted on Monday, October 10, 2011 at 8:02pm
  11. And so it begins. REVOLT. REVOLUTION!

    Posted on Monday, October 10, 2011 at 8:33pm
  12. Finally!

    Posted on Monday, October 10, 2011 at 8:51pm
  13. Its a great thing but they can’t figure out what to do about prop 8?

    Posted on Monday, October 10, 2011 at 8:59pm
  14. thank god

    Posted on Monday, October 10, 2011 at 9:06pm
  15. FINALLY!!! Hopefully passing these bill’s will make a huge difference.

    Posted on Monday, October 10, 2011 at 9:31pm
  16. Thank you, Governor Brown, for signing “Seth’s Law” and two important transgender rights bills. For far too long, LGBT students have been the victims of discrimination and harassment due to their sexual orientation and/or gender identity. And even though many schools have GSAs and other such clubs to promote awareness and equality, it is obvious that still far too many GLBT students have to live in fear for simply being who they are. “Seth’s Law” is a first step in protecting such individuals; it is my hope that other lawmakers follow Brown’s actions.

    In addition, I hope the two transgender laws are given attention to by the lawmakers of other states. I and my partner (who is transgender) live in northern Michigan, and believe me, he has faced tremendous discrimination and problems for simply identifying as male. Not only are doctors downright refusing to let him transition, but his insurance company refuses to even recognize his name change (that was done in court and thus IS official)! He has been fighting the insurance company for FIVE YEARS over that!

    Posted on Tuesday, October 11, 2011 at 11:05am
  17. Agreed, Alvin, Prop 8 IS bullying.

    Posted on Tuesday, October 11, 2011 at 7:47pm