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Assemblymember Ward Bill to Protect Transgender Youth Privacy Passes Assembly Judiciary Committee

For immediate release:

(SACRAMENTO, CA) – Transgender and gender non-conforming adolescents are more likely to develop depression and other mental health conditions, according to research by the Kaiser Permanente Southern California Department of Research & Evaluation. Researchers found the youth that participated in the study reported a higher prevalence of anxiety, depression, suicidal ideation and self-inflicted injuries than their peers who identified as the gender they were assigned at birth. Assemblymember Ward introduced AB 223, the Transgender Youth Privacy Act, to seal any petition for a change of gender or sex identifier filed by a minor. Today, the bill passed out of the Assembly Judiciary Committee on a bipartisan vote.

"The Transgender Youth Privacy Act is focused to ensure that those documents are sealed from general public discovery as many of our documents have become digitized and are too easily accessible to those who would do these youth harm," said Assemblymember Ward (D-San Diego). "AB 223 is about protecting youth from being bullied so they can navigate their daily lives as themselves."

Under existing law, parent authorization is required for changing vital records for those under 18 years of age unless a court has emancipated them. AB 223 does not change the petition process, but it helps prevent online discovery of documents leading to "outing" and harassment. The bill would require any petition for a change of gender or sex identifier filed by a minor to be sealed to protect their privacy.

"As a parent of a trans child, I appreciate just what this bill means not just to trans kids like mine, but to other parents of trans kids,” said Clarice Estrada Barrelet with the SoCal Family Law Group. “We submitted these petitions on behalf of our minor children who likely celebrated like we did when the petition was granted. And while the parents may be advocates like me, our kids did not ask to be advocates; they just want to be their true selves. And they have a reasonable expectation that this be private.”