Sacramento–California Governor Jerry Brown on Sunday signed a bill that will help ensure that transgender people are recognized for who they are while incarcerated and will increase their likelihood of successful reentry into society on release. Senate Bill (SB) 310, by Sen. Toni Atkins (D-San Diego), requires corrections officials to use the new name of a transgender person who obtains a name change, and to list the prior name only as an alias.
“By signing SB 310, Governor Brown has not only given transgender individuals who are incarcerated an opportunity to serve their time with a greater degree of dignity,” said Sen. Atkins. “He has also increased the chances that they will be successful in reentering society after their release. I am grateful to him, and I am grateful to Equality California and other LGBTQ-rights advocates for their help in getting this important bill passed.”
The current belabored process that an incarcerated transgender person must complete before petitioning the court to change their legal name or gender marker often results in improper denials or no resolution to requests. SB 310 establishes the right of transgender people incarcerated in state prisons or county jails to petition the court directly to change their legal name or gender marker.
“SB 310 helps remove unnecessary obstacles that transgender inmates face with name and gender changes,” said Rick Zbur, executive director of Equality California. “SB 310 helps to minimize abuses and to ensure that transgender inmates will be treated with dignity, which in turn will help them to begin their successful reentry into society after incarceration.”
SB 310 was cosponsored by Equality California, St. James Infirmary, the Transgender Gender-Variant Intersex Justice Project, Transgender Law Center, the Western Regional Advocacy Project, the Women’s Foundation of California, and the Women’s Policy Institute.
Equality California is the nation’s largest statewide LGBTQ civil rights organization. We bring the voices of LGBTQ people and allies to institutions of power in California and across the United States, striving to create a world that is healthy, just, and fully equal for all LGBTQ people. We advance civil rights and social justice by inspiring, advocating and mobilizing through an inclusive movement that works tirelessly on behalf of those we serve. www.eqca.org