California Governor Jerry Brown made history, and the lives of LGBT people in his state better today, when he signed three groundbreaking LGBT equality bills into law. Interestingly, all them in one way or another involve young people.
The first, and the one which has gotten the most media traction, bans therapists who are licensed by the state of California from practicing reparative or so-called "ex-gay" therapy on minors. This is undeniably good news. It not only sends a powerful message, it also may help make LGBT youth safer.
However, I'll admit to not being as excited as many of my fellow bloggers by the bill. I don't have statistics, but my understanding is that many of the most egregious "ex-gay" programs are not administered by state-licensed therapists (whose own professional associations strongly condemn the practice), but rather by lay community members and fans of faith-based pseudo-psychology. Those practitioners and programs are unaffected by the new law, and vulnerable LGBT youth are still in danger.
Second on Governor Brown's LGBT to-do list: a bill that will add training in "cultural competency and sensitivity" issues that effect queer/LGBT youth to the training regiment for foster parents. It goes without saying in our current social and political climate that this bill was controversial, but its supporters carried the day, and hopefully its implementation will make the lives of some of our most vulnerable children safer and more fruitful.
The last bill of note eliminates a regulatory (and financial) barrier to single people and same-sex couples seeking to use artificial insemination. Under the new policy, sperm donors will be able to make multiple donations without the need for repeated, and expensive, testing of each sample. It may not seem as significant as the previous two bills, but for prospective parents already coping with the significant practical, financial, and emotional process of artificial insemination, it should make the journey to a joyous conclusion a bit easier.
But whatever Californians might think, there's a whole wide world out there. So here are some other things in the world that you need to know: