In an effort to protect transexual individuals, authorities in California are now jailing people who use the wrong gender pronouns, while letting those who knowingly transmit HIV walk free.
California healthcare workers can face jail time for using the wrong gender pronouns. Newly signed legislation aims to protect transgender and other LGBT individuals in hospitals, care homes and other assisted living facilities. The bill aims to ensure those facilities accommodate trans people and their needs, including letting them decide which gender bathroom to use.
The bill’s sponsor, Democratic California State Senator Scott Wiener, has argued that nobody will be prosecuted using wrong pronoun. But the language in the bill seems to allow for that possibility.
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According to the bill, unlawfull actions include:
“Wilfully and repeatedly failing to use transgender persons name or pronouns after he or she has been clearly informed of the preferred pronoun.”
The law states:
“If provisions are violated the violator could be punished by a fine not exceeding $1,000 or by imprisonment in county jail in a period not to exceed one year. Or both.”
Wiener’s office noted that violations for residential care facilities under existing law rarely result in criminal charges, especially when it comes to minor violations. So technically you’d be breaking law for using wrong pronouns, but you wouldn’t face punishment. So what’s the point in creating the law?
Meanwhile, California is reducing the penalty for knowingly exposing somebody to HIV.
Tough policies enacted during the AIDS scare in the 1980s and 1990s meant that intentionally exposing somebody to HIV was a felony. Now, Democratic lawmakers hope to undo some of that stigma.
SB239 has reduced the crime to a misdemeanour – but critics say the bill will endanger people.
Democratic Senator Scott Wiener says the harsher penalties discourage people from getting tested for HIV and stigmatise those who have it.
Only in California can calling someone by their wrong pronoun get you thrown in jail, while knowingly transmitting a deadly STD get you a slap on the wrist.
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