Alessio Monsanto carries the Transgender Flag while attending a rally held in San Francisco’s Castro District Wednesday, July 26, 2017. (Jessica Christian/S.F. Examiner)

Advocates celebrate Gov. Brown’s signing of laws that expand LGBT rights

San Francisco state Sen. Scott Wiener and advocates Monday evening were scheduled to celebrate the governor’s signing of several bills expanding the rights of LGBT people in California.

Gov. Jerry Brown on Sunday signed Senate Bill 179, the Gender Recognition Act, which Wiener co-authored with state Sen. Toni Atkins, D-San Diego. The new law makes California the second state in the nation after Oregon to allow residents to use a gender marker other than “F” or “M” on their driver’s license and the first in the nation to allow a third gender marker on birth certificates.

The law also makes it easier to get gender changes recognized by state agencies and the courts, through changes such as the removal of a requirement for a physician’s letter.

“With Governor Brown’s signature on this bill, transgender and non-binary people will now be able to identify themselves as they are, not as who society tells them they should be,” Wiener said in a statement.

The governor has also signed SB 219, which protects LGBT seniors from discrimination in long-term care facilities.

The “LGBT Senior Bill of Rights,” which was co-sponsored by Assemblymember David Chiu, D-San Francisco, requires use of preferred names or pronouns and prohibits facilities from denying admission based on sexuality or transferring or evicting residents to another facility or location based on anti-LGBT attitudes, among other requirements.

Brown also signed SB 219, which reduces the penalty for people who knowingly expose a sexual partner to HIV from a felony to a misdemeanor and eliminates a penalty for donating HIV infecting blood. All donated blood is tested for HIV, making the law redundant, supporters argue.

Wiener and Atkins were scheduled to join community advocates Monday at the San Francisco LGBT Center at 5:30 p.m. to celebrate the legislative victories.

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