September 26, 2023 - SACRAMENTO, CA – Governor Gavin Newsom signed several bills over the weekend strengthening protections for LGBTQ+ Californians, including the Transgender Youth Privacy Act (AB 223) by Chris Ward, Vice Chair of the California Legislative LGBTQ Caucus. The Transgender Youth Privacy Act requires courts to seal any petition for a change of gender or sex identifier filed by a minor to protect their privacy.
“At a time when many of our public documents have become digitized and easily accessible by those who would do transgender youth harm, AB 223 will allow transgender youth the ability to share their personal information with whoever they wish when they are ready to disclose it,” said Assemblymember Ward (D-San Diego). “The Transgender Youth Privacy Act protects these youth from being bullied so they can navigate their daily lives as themselves.”
Transgender youth are three times more likely to attempt suicide than their cisgender peers, according to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Transgender youth are also more likely to experience violence victimization, substance use and depression.
Under existing law, parent authorization is required for changing vital records for those under 18 years of age unless a court has emancipated them. AB 223 does not change the petition process, but it helps prevent online discovery of documents leading to outing and harassment. The Transgender Youth Privacy Act goes into effect on January 1, 2024.
“This bill will secure the safety and privacy of so many California youth,” said Kathie Moehlig, Executive Director of TransFamily Support Services. “Transgender and nonbinary youth are navigating a world of hate daily. By sealing the name and gender marker change records, we are bringing the courts in line with the laws around schools not outing students. Often families were not even aware that these records are public until years after when a court order is discovered in a Google search of the youth's name. Keeping these records public puts many students at high risk for bullying, hatred, and even violence. We applaud Assemblymember Ward for his leadership in fighting for the right of trans and nonbinary youth across the state."
Source: Assemblymember Christopher Ward
Related: California Governor Gavin Newsom Announces the Signing of Legislation Supporting LGBTQ+ Californians