California Governor Jerry Brown signed a series of bills last week that got props from LGBT organizations around the country. Those bills included Seth’s Law, an anti-bullying measure named after 13-year-old student Seth Walsh who hanged himself after he had been hounded at school by classmates who perceived him to be gay. A federal investigation later concluded that the Tehachapi Unified School District failed to properly respond to the teen’s ongoing harassment. According to On Top magazine, 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.
Brown also signed two important transgender rights bills into law as well. The Gender Nondiscrimination Act 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, “will alleviate the confusion, anxiety and even danger that transgender people face when we have identity documents that do not reflect who we are,” says Masen Davis, Executive Director of the Transgender Law Center. The bill makes it easier for transgender people to get a court-ordered gender change and updated birth certificate.