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Legislation & Policy

State Policy Working Group

NCLR, along with other national LGBTQ organizations, is part of a State Policy Working Group that addresses proposed state legislation affecting LGBTQ people across the country. The group works to support local advocates in advancing bills to protect LGBTQ people from discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations, healthcare, and other areas, and to allow transgender and nonbinary people to obtain gender marker changes on identity documents.

The group also works to stop the dozens of hostile anti-LGBTQ bills introduced in state legislatures every year. Among the proposed laws that have been successfully defeated are bills that would permit discrimination against same-sex couples who marry, create broad religious exemptions to existing civil rights protections, allow religiously-affiliated child welfare agencies to refuse to place children with same-sex couples, prohibit transgender people from using restrooms and other facilities based on their gender identity, and deprive transgender youth of access to gender-affirming medical care and participation in school sports based on their gender identity.

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Legislation & Policy

Supporting the Well-Being of Systems Involved LGBTQ Youth Certificate Program

NCLR and Ceres Policy Research partner with the Center for Juvenile Justice Reform at Georgetown University to present an annual certificate program, “Supporting the Well-Being of Systems Involved LGBTQ Youth.” Multidisciplinary teams from jurisdictions across the country participate in a week-long intensive program designed to provide participants with the knowledge and skills to implement a Capstone Project in their communities to improve outcomes for LGBTQ youth.

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Legislation & Policy

getREAL National

NCLR is a partner in the getREAL (Recognize. Engage. Affirm. Love.) project, a national initiative sponsored by the Center for the Study of Social Policy. The getREAL collaborative works to transform child welfare policy nationally to promote the healthy development of LGBTQ and gender expansive youth through working intensively with sites, supporting a national professional network and developing research-based knowledge in the child welfare field.

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Legislation & Policy

getREAL California

NCLR is a partner in getREAL (Recognize. Engage. Affirm. Love) California, a collaboration with the Center on the Study of Social Policy, Family Builders by Adoption, and the RISE Initiative of the Los Angeles LGBTQ Center. The focus of the work is to integrate sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression (SOGIE) into the state’s Continuum of Care Reform and the state law requiring child welfare agencies to collect SOGIE data.

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Legislation & Policy

Support OUT

NCLR is working with the Office of LGBTQ Affairs in Santa Clara County, California to implement “Support OUT,” a multi-year initiative designed to promote the health and well-being of the LGBTQ youth living in the county. This public health initiative seeks to address the risk factors that jeopardize LGBTQ youth – especially low-income LGBTQ youth of color – and contribute to their overrepresentation among homeless youth and in child welfare and juvenile justice systems. The vision of the initiative is that all LGBTQ and gender nonconforming children and youth in the county thrive in their homes, schools, and communities, and successfully transition to adulthood.

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Legislation & Policy

California Assembly Bill 2119

NCLR co-sponsored AB 2119, a bill to give California foster youth the right to access gender affirming health and behavioral health care. The legislation, which amended the Foster Care Bill of Rights, was the first of its kind in the nation and ensures that transgender youth receive health care consistent with national standards of care. Governor Brown signed the bill in September 2018, and the California Department of Social Services issued guidance in May 2019.

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Legislation & Policy

TGNC Youth in Confinement Facilities

NCLR received support from the National Prison Rape Elimination Act Resource Center (PRC) to develop a model policy for confinement facilities housing transgender, gender nonconforming and intersex youth. NCLR and the Center for Children’s Law and Policy worked with a diverse group of youth justice stakeholders, including advocates for TGNCI communities, formerly incarcerated young people, facility personnel, and youth justice practitioners from across the country. Together, we produced the model policy which was published by the PRC. Based on the policy, NCLR and the National Juvenile Defender Center created a checklist for juvenile defenders to help juvenile defenders advocate for the safety and well-being of TGNCI youth in secure and non-secure facilities.

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Legislation & Policy

California Senate Bill 731

On October 11, 2015, California Governor Jerry Brown signed a landmark bill that protects transgender children in the foster care system.

Authored by Senator Mark Leno, Senate Bill 731 gives critical guidance to child welfare workers regarding the placement of transgender youth in out-of-home care. The bill, co-authored by Senator Jim Beall, amends the Foster Care Bill of Rights to specify that foster youth have the right to be placed according to their gender identity, regardless of the sex listed in their court or child welfare records. SB 731, which went into effect on January 1, 2016, also requires the California Department of Social Services to issue regulations implementing this provision. By providing specific guidance to the child welfare field, the bill promotes the safety, permanency and well-being of transgender foster youth.

Many transgender youth face rejection, harassment, and abuse from their families, communities, and schools due to bias and stigma related to their gender identity or expression. These children are at extremely high risk for poor health and mental health outcomes. These risks are magnified for children in foster care, most of whom have experienced significant trauma. Placement of transgender youth consistent with their gender identity is necessary to protect them from further rejection, harassment, and abuse.

SB 731 was co-sponsored by NCLR, Equality California, and the Transgender Law Center, and supported by the California Alliance of Child and Family Services, the County Welfare Directors Association of California, Family Builders, the Gender Health Center, the Juvenile Court Judges of California, the Youth Law Center, the National Center for Youth Law, Legal Services for Children, the East Bay Children’s Law Offices, and Gender Spectrum.

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Legislation & Policy

School Success and Opportunity Act

The School Success and Opportunity Act‚ Assembly Bill 1266 (2013), authored by California Assemblymember Tom Ammiano, ensured that transgender students are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve. The law requires that school districts provide transgender students with access to restrooms, locker rooms, and other sex-separated activities based on their gender identity. By specifically spelling out those protections, transgender students throughout California can reach their full potential and focus on learning.

All students should have a fair chance to fully participate and succeed in school so that they can graduate with their classmates. Being singled out and treated differently than their peers is detrimental to a transgender student’s psychological, social, and academic well-being and development.

The law went into effect on January 1, 2014.

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