California’s governor Gavin Newsom signed several bills over the weekend that will enhance the protections of LGBTQ+ folks in California.
One bill will establish timelines for mandatory cultural competence training for educators and personnel within public schools. Additionally, a separate measure will establish an advisory committee tasked with assessing the requirements of LGBTQ+ students and promoting initiatives that provide support. A third bill mandates that foster families demonstrate their capacity and willingness to cater to the needs of foster children, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. The governor has also approved a bill mandating that schools from first through twelfth grade must ensure the availability of at least one gender-neutral restroom by the year 2026.
However, this exciting news for the LGBTQ+ community comes after Newsom vetoed a bill that would mandate courts to consider support of gender expression in custody battles. Assemblymember Lori Wilson, a Democrat who introduced the bill and has a trans son, was among the LGBTQ+ advocates who criticized the governor’s decision.
“I’ve been disheartened over the last few years as I watched the rising hate and heard the vitriol toward the trans community. My intent with this bill was to give them a voice, particularly in the family court system where a non-affirming parent could have a detrimental impact on the mental health and well-being of a child,” Wilson said in a statement.
Newsom noted that current legislation already mandates that courts take into account the well-being, safety, and welfare of a child when deciding what is in their best interests in custody proceedings, including the parent’s support of the child’s gender identity.
“California is proud to have some of the most robust laws in the nation when it comes to protecting and supporting our LGBTQ+ community, and we’re committed to the ongoing work to create safer, more inclusive spaces for all Californians,” Newsom said of the newest bills in a statement. “These measures will help protect vulnerable youth, promote acceptance, and create more supportive environments in our schools and communities.”