SACRAMENTO — The State of California Third District Court of Appeals ruled on Friday that a California statute requiring nursing home staff to use the correct pronouns for trans and nonbinary patients is a freedom of speech violation. The Court, in a unanimous 3-0 decision, struck down this key provision of the LGBTQ Long-Term Care Facility Residents’ Bill of Rights, created by SB 219 in 2019, authored by Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) and sponsored by Equality California. The Court upheld the provision in the law that requires nursing homes to place transgender patients in rooms that match their gender identity.
Equality California, the nation’s largest statewide LGBTQ+ civil rights organization, released the following statement from Executive Director Rick Chavez Zbur:
“The Court’s decision is a beyond disappointing, especially for our state’s transgender and nonbinary seniors. Let’s be clear: refusing to use someone’s correct name and pronouns isn’t an issue of free speech — it’s a hateful act that denies someone their dignity and truth. Study after study has shown that trans people who are misgendered face alarming and life-threatening rates of depression and suicidal behavior. And older LGBTQ+ people face feelings of isolation, poor mental health and extreme vulnerability to communicable diseases like COVID-19. California’s nursing home patients deserve better than this — and we’ll be fighting until this decision is overturned.”
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