New Law Gives Trans Californians Respect After Death

New Law Gives Trans Californians Respect After Death

California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill ensuring that transgender people's gender identity is accurately reflected on their death certificates.

The Respect After Death Act was authored by out assembly speaker Toni Atkins, according to cosponsor Equality California. It requires any official responsible for completing a transgender person's death certificate to ensure it represents the deceased person's gender expression, as documented in other government-issued documents, or evidenced by gender confirmation medical procedures. 

Masen Davis of the Transgender Law Center, a cosponsor of the bill, said this was a "common-sense bill that will help protect the dignity of our loved ones upon their passing."

The Respect After Death Act was inspired by the passing of San Francisco artist and advocate Christopher Lee, who was misgendered after his death in 2012.

“I’m so happy,” said Lee’s close friend Chino Scott-Chung, said in a statement on Friday. “It brings us great solace to know that Christopher’s legacy will live on to protect the dignity of other transgender people, and that their friends and families will hopefully not have to endure what we did.”

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