A new bill introduced in California’s state Senate requires nursing homes and similar long-term care facilities to implement transgender bathroom policies.
The bill makes it unlawful to require transgender residents to use the biologically correct bathroom, and prohibits nursing home employees from calling residents anything other than their chosen name and pronoun.
Additionally, nursing homes that assign rooms based on gender will be prohibited from assigning rooms based on biological sex, if the bill passes.
State senator Scott Wiener introduced last week the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Long-Term Care Facility Resident’s Bill of Rights, which he says is needed to protect LGBT seniors from discrimination.
Section 1 of the bill argues that “many LGBT seniors are members of multiple underrepresented groups, and as a result, are doubly marginalized.”
The bill devotes a whole paragraph to defining the term “gender identity”:
‘Gender identity’ means a person’s identity based on the individual’s stated gender identity, without regard to whether the self-identified gender accords with the individual’s physical appearance, surgical history, genitalia, legal sex, sex assigned at birth, or name and sex, as it appears in medical records, and without regard to any contrary statement by any other person, including a family member, conservator, or legal representative. An individual who lacks the present ability to communicate his or her gender identity shall retain the gender identity used by that individual prior to losing his or her expressive capacity.
The bill will go before the Human Services Committee on Tuesday.
The Pacific Justice Institute, a non-profit legal organization, sent a letter to the committee opposing the bill on free speech and religious freedom grounds, arguing that it would target religious-based organizations.
The group claimed that the bill has practical issues, too, noting that “if some poor soul suffers from delusions causing them to believe that they are someone famous, as the Bill stands the staff would be required to call the individual Napoleon or whomever historical figure the resident is fixated on.”
Transgressions under the bill constitute “a violation of either the Long-Term Care, Health, Safety, and Security Act of 1973, the California Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly Act, or specified provisions providing for the licensure and regulation of health facilities,” according to the legislative counsel’s digest, which adds, “By expanding the definition of existing crimes, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program.”
Other bills recently introduced by Wiener include one, “Makes it safer and simpler for cannabis business owners to pay state fees and taxes” and another that requires certain residential or construction projects to include the installation of solar panels.