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California Could Become First State To Mandate LGBT Training For Businesses

State Sen. Ricardo Lara (D) Bell Gardens at the San Diego LGBT Center discuss...

Credit: Katie Schoolov/KPBS

Above: State Sen. Ricardo Lara (D) Bell Gardens at the San Diego LGBT Center discussing his transgender rights bill next to Assemblyman Todd Gloria (D) San Diego, State Sen. Toni Atkins (D) San Diego and local LGBT activists. August 25, 2017.

California lawmakers were in Hillcrest on Friday at the San Diego LGBT Center drumming up support for the Transgender Work Opportunity Act.

Introduced by State Sen. Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens, the proposed legislation is designed to do three things:

–Include gender identity and sexual orientation training for supervisors.

–Require businesses with 50 or more employees to post transgender worker’s rights.

–Enroll transgender workers in job training programs.

"We've seen numerous stories of people being fired or they just leave because even though California has the strongest anti-discrimination laws, we know they are not being utilized or put into place by our transgender community," said Lara. "Many of them don't even know what their rights are."

Video by Katie Schoolov

Lara and other California lawmakers like Assemblyman Todd Gloria, D-San Diego, said transgender workers experience higher unemployment rates and struggle to find work.

"You will not find a better worker than someone who has traditionally been pushed out of the workplace," said Gloria. "If you give them that chance, I think you're going to find an incredible worker."

Senate Bill 396 still has to be voted on by the California State Assembly, before it reaches the State Senate. Lawmakers will have to hurry because the last day to pass legislation this year is Sept. 15.

The Transgender Work Opportunity Act is designed to educate employers and transgender workers about their rights.

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