Last month, Assemblymember Chris Ward (D-San Diego) introduced the Transgender Youth Privacy Act, requiring any petition for a change of gender or sex identifier filed by a minor to be sealed to protect their privacy.
Assembly Bill 223 protects minors from being “outed.”
“Being ‘outed’ is a traumatic event for anyone –– but especially traumatic for someone under the age of 18 years old,” Ward said, reported by the Los Angeles Blade. “The Transgender Youth Privacy Act gives transgender youth the confidence to navigate their gender identity without fear of retaliation from someone who discovers that information in the public record.”
A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that transgender youth are three times more likely to attempt suicide than their cisgender peers, and more likely to experience violence victimization, substance use and depression.
Being “outed” or “misgendered” can have severe consequences for adolescents, according to the Blade. Allowing minors when and how they wish to share personal information with peers is vital in protecting their mental health and overall wellbeing, the Blade reported.
“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.”
Moehlig continued, “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 will put many students at high risk for bullying, hatred, and even violence. We applaud Assemblymember Ward for bringing this forward and fighting for the right of trans and nonbinary youth across the state.”