Legal Protections for the LGBTQ Community in Los Angeles County: A Comprehensive Guide

The LGBTQ community in Los Angeles County has a range of legal protections in place to ensure their safety and security. Learn more about these laws here.

Legal Protections for the LGBTQ Community in Los Angeles County: A Comprehensive Guide

The LGBTQ community in Los Angeles County has a range of legal protections in place to ensure their safety and security. The Juvenile Justice Safety and Protection Act (SB 518) is one such law that safeguards LGBT youth from discrimination and harassment at state juvenile justice centers. Before European settlement and colonization, numerous Native American groups lived in the region, many of which recognized a third gender role in their societies. People with a male body who behaved and acted like women and performed typical feminine tasks were known by various names, such as Yaawa among the Atsugewi, Kwit or Cuit among the Luiseño, Tüdayapi among the Paiute of the North, Clele among the Wailaki, 'aqi among the Chumash, Wergern among the Yurok and í-wa-musp among the Yuki.

Female-to-male individuals were known as Brumaiwi among the Astugewi and Musp-íwap Náip among the Yuki. Similarly, among the Nomlaki and Klamath and Modoc peoples, respectively, Walusa and T'winiq individuals formed a third gender, along with men and women. In 1909, California passed a law that provided for the possible sterilization of moral or sexual perverts. By 1948, 19,042 people had been sterilized under this law. In 1950, the state attorney general issued an opinion that sterilizing inmates for reasons other than therapeutic reasons was probably unconstitutional.

At this time, California accounted for the majority of sterilization cases of all states, with more than all states combined. In 1951, the law was amended to eliminate perversion as a reason for sterilization. Starting in the middle of the 20th century, debate surrounding the sodomy law became increasingly popular. In 1975, a bill was introduced to repeal the state's sodomy law. In 1972 and 1974, California voters chose to amend the Bill of Rights of the State Constitution to include inalienable rights such as life and liberty, acquisition, possession and protection of property, and pursuit and attainment of security, happiness and privacy.

In May 1975, a law on consenting adults for residents over 18 years of age was passed which restricted existing laws on sodomy or oral copulation for same-sex or opposite-sex couples only to genuinely criminal cases. This took effect the following year. In 1985, Berkeley became the first government entity in California to legally recognize same-sex couples when it enacted its common-law partnership policy for city and school district employees. The term domestic partnership was coined by city employee and gay rights activist Tom Brougham and all other domestic partnership policies enacted in California since then are modeled after this policy. During its passage some concern was expressed that by repealing the ban on same-sex marriage SB 1306 violated separation of powers since it would repeal an initiative approved by voters. However, it was determined that voters can no longer pass an unconstitutional law in the same way as the Assembly can. California law also clarifies protections against hate crimes based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression along with other categories.

State law provides for improved penalties for a crime motivated by victim's real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. Support for LGBT rights and same-sex marriage has evolved significantly over past few decades with several electoral initiatives specific to LGBT people being carried out in California. The first was Proposition 6 (the Briggs Initiative) which would have banned gays and lesbians from working in public schools but failed despite initial polls showing wide margin of support. In 2000s two same-sex marriage initiatives (Proposition 22 & Proposition 8) were voted on both successful. In addition under Section 48950 no public school charter school or non-religious private high school can discipline you for talking about your LGBTQ status or talking about LGBTQ issues.

Most support for LGBT rights can be seen in larger cities such as Los Angeles San Diego & San Francisco as well as many cities on Pacific coast. Today at their school all teachers & students attend anti-bullying training & school district has issued clear guidelines on how LGBTQ students can report bullying to prevent it from happening again in future. Student members of GSA in Hesperia California defended themselves against school administrators who censored GSA advertisements & posters & did not allow them to show films on LGBTQ topics. In 1992 after AB101 veto riot (in which Governor Pete Wilson vetoed law that would have guaranteed protection against discrimination based on sexual orientation by private employers) Governor Wilson reversed course & signed law that reformed California's existing anti-discrimination laws to cover sexual orientation in employment & Section 48907 of California Education Code also protects your right to talk about LGBTQ issues & issues at school.

Anja Bruijn
Anja Bruijn

Proud internet junkie. Lifelong zombie lover. Amateur food fan. Infuriatingly humble zombie aficionado. Hardcore zombie advocate. Total bacon scholar.

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