By Lemor Abrams

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — California is on track to becoming the first in the nation to require workplace training about gender identity.

The new bill comes in response to a new survey showing a high unemployment rate in the transgender community.

The National Center For Transgender Equality says transgender workers experience unemployment three times the national average. Unemployment is at 15 percent for transgender people while the national average is 5 percent.

Rachael Hudson is the guru on transgender training. She offers free education on how to communicate with and around a transgender coworker.

“For a trans person it’s tough especially misgendering a trans person,” she said.

Hudson made the transition from male to female more than 10 years ago. The difference now is California has laws shielding transgender workers, including a new one that requires all single stall bathrooms to be gender neutral.

But civil rights advocates say there are just not enough rules protecting transgender people against discrimination on the job.

“This is really about respecting people for who they are,” said Jo Michael.

Michael is with Equality California. He’s pushing a new bill dubbed The Transgender Work Opportunity Act.

“There’s just a lack of acceptance of people who are transgender,” he said.

The bill would apply to every employer in California with 50 or more employees, requiring training on gender harassment as part of current sexual harassment training. And it reaffirms that transgender workers are allowed to go by their preferred names and pronouns.

“You are now forcing them to say something that they don’t believe in,” said Greg Burt.

Greg Burt is with the California Family Council, a conservative Christian group that says its worried Democratic lawmakers are threatening workers’ religious liberties.

“Training that requires you to teach something that opposes your fundamental views, that’s going to be an issue,” he said.

But if acceptance is the issue, Hudson believes, they can all work together to solve that.

“What I’ve experienced is people want to know, and they just don’t,” she said.

The Transgender Work Opportunity Act is heading to the Assembly for a vote. It’s one of several state bills dealing with gender discrimination.

Comments (4)
  1. Here’s reality:
    15% unemployment because the trannees waste their time and money on makeup, clothing, and whatever it takes to “convert” to being a he or she.
    Instead of focusing on job skills and interviewing.
    Don’t blame the employer because you waste time and money on your “hobby.”

    Just another pointless regulation that few will abide by.
    Add it to the many thousands on the books that no one enforces or cares about.
    For the employers that do offer the training, 99% of the employees will ignore it while playing on their cell phones.
    Attention, transgenders: nothing you do will make the rest of us normals accept you.
    That is reality. Deal with it. At best, we will tolerate you and leave you alone.
    But we will never accept you.
    That is life. Deal with it.

    1. v2787 says:

      Here is reality, Mr. Dietrich: the unemployment rate for trans persons is so high because, much like you, many employers are uneducated about the distinct business advantages of hiring transgender workers. Research consistently indicates that transgender employees are more loyal to their employers and are more productive when they are able to work in a respectful, accepting environment. Trans people are not “wasting time and money on makeup, clothing,” or on a “hobby”–they are doing what is necessary to be authentic and true to themselves. (I didn’t make that up. The American Medical Association and the American Psychological Association agree on this issue.) Rational people understand that personal authenticity is a key to living with integrity. Those are qualities that any employer should desire in an employee.

      If employers offer transgender awareness training–and if the trainer is any good–people will not ignore it or play on their cell phones. I give corporate trainings regularly. I make sure people are engaged and active, are involved in learning, and that cell phones are put away.

      FYI, there are no such things as “transgenders.” There are transgender persons, transgender individuals, and a transgender community. Also, “normal” is a statistical average, not a value judgment. You don’t have to accept transgender people, but in a workplace you need to treat everyone with respect and professionalism. If you don’t, your employer may become liable for a discrimination lawsuit due to maintaining a hostile work environment. The federal EEOC has some things to say about that.

      Your irrational fear of transgender people does you no credit, Mr. Dietrich. Most people adopt a “live and let live” attitude toward the trans community. You, however, appear to be deeply disturbed about the potential presence of transgender persons in the workplace. That may be construed as an unwillingness to embrace change and new workplace expectations, which is not necessarily viewed as a positive career attribute by employers. You might want to rethink your attitude if you live in California and want to be in compliance with the business community’s expectations as well as employment law.

      And THAT, sir, is reality.

  2. California Priorities….

  3. When the state steps in to dictate how people interact and punishes those who don’t agree with them, that state has left freedom behind and is sliding rapidly into fascism.

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