Gay Desert Hot Springs

Newsom sent 2nd transgender bill to sign

Posted on June 24, 2022

Bay Area Reporter By Matthew S. Bajko | Assistant Editor

A second bill relating to transgender issues now awaits Governor Gavin Newsom’s signature. It would add California to the list of states that annually proclaim November 20 as Transgender Day of Remembrance.

Assembly Bill 1741, introduced by gay Assemblymember Evan Low (D-Campbell), chair of the Legislative LGBTQ Caucus, would require the governor to officially recognize the date each year as a day of special remembrance in the Golden State. The event, started in 1998 by Bay Area Reporter Transmissions columnist Gwenn Smith, commemorates those transgender people lost to violence in a given year.

One of the first states in the country to make the day an official yearly observance was Virginia. The Virginia House of Delegates adopted a resolution January 7, 2020 that annually designates November 20 as Transgender Day of Remembrance in the Mid-Atlantic state. Transgender Delegate Danica Roem had authored it.

In 2017, the provincial government of Ontario, Canada, unanimously passed the Trans Day of Remembrance Act, which requires members of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Ontario to annually observe a minute-long moment of silence at 10:29 a.m. on November 20 if they are in session, otherwise they are to do so the next Thursday that they meet.

California’s Assembly passed AB 1741 on a 58-20 vote in late May. The state Senate passed it Monday, June 20, by a 31-9 vote, and it was presented to Newsom at 4 p.m. Wednesday, June 22, amid the Pride week celebrations held annually on the seven days preceding the last Sunday in June.

As Smith told the B.A.R. in April, “In a time when so many other states are attempting to legislate trans lives and trans history out of existence, it is all the more important to see California lead the way in honoring people lost due to anti-transgender violence and hatred. This is a small but important move that shows the state cares.”

Also being sent to Newsom is legislation to repeal California’s “walking while trans” loitering law. Sex worker advocates and LGBTQ leaders have denounced such criminal codes due to police using them to arrest transgender women who engage in prostitution in order to make a living.

The California Legislature last year had approved the legislation repealing the state’s Penal Code section 653.22, which makes it a misdemeanor to loiter in a public place with the intent to commit prostitution. But gay state Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), who authored Senate Bill 357, had withheld sending it to Newsom amid concerns that the governor would veto it.

As the B.A.R. first reported online Monday, June 20, Wiener made a motion that day to enroll Senate Bill 357, kick starting the formal process to submit the bill to Newsom’s desk. According to the state’s online tracker for bills, it has yet to be presented to the governor.

Newsom will have 12 days to either sign or veto SB 357 once he receives it.

Should Newsom sign the bill then California would join the state of New York in repealing its loitering laws. The Empire State did so in 2021.