2020 California laws that will help the LGBTQ community

2020 California Laws

Visitors at Long Beach Pride in 2017 showed their pride in many ways. Photo: Q Voice News file.

Several 2020 California laws go into effect that will help the LGBTQ community.

Here are the nine laws organized by category.


  • AB 493, Safe and Supportive Schools Act.

This law requires public schools to give teachers and other certificated staff (nurses, librarians, and counselors) training to help identify and prevent LGBTQ-based bullying and verbal and physical harassment. The law also mandates that public school teachers and other certificated employees receive LGBTQ cultural-competency training. 

In addition, AB 493 gives the California Department of Education until July 1, 2021, to develop and update its resources and training materials with LGBTQ topics. 

That training was mandatory in an earlier version of the bill and was estimated to cost the state’s 343 school districts approximately $3.25 million. Legislators removed that portion at the request of Gov. Gavin Newsom, who promised to work with lawmakers and LGBTQ advocates to get the funding for training teachers in his budget later this year.

Assemblyman Todd Gloria (D-San Diego) authored the bill.

California has the nation’s first LGBT veterans memorial

  • AB 711

This law allows transgender and gender nonconforming students to update academic records and diplomas with their preferred name and gender pronouns. After they have received government issued documentation, such as a birth certificate, court order, passport, or Social Security number, showing the new legal name or gender, school districts, charter schools, or county education offices must amend their records. 

Assemblyman David Chiu (D-San Francisco) authored the bill.

Foster care

  • AB 2119

This first-of-its-kind legislation requires transgender foster youth receive health care services consistent with their gender identity. It includes interventions to align a person’s physical appearance with their gender identity and interventions to alleviate symptoms of gender dysphoria.

The bill, which was adopted in 2018, instructs the California Department of Social Services and the California Department of Healthcare Services to co-develop guidelines by January 1 on that will identify, coordinate, and support foster youth who wish to access gender-affirming health care.

Assemblyman Gloria authored the bill.


  • SB 159

In July, residents Californians will be able to obtain a two-month supply of the HIV prevention medicine PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis pills) from their local pharmacy without a prescription from their primary care doctor. The medication has proven to be extremely effective in preventing the transmission of HIV.

Pharmacies will also be able to supply customers with a 28-day regimen of drugs for PEP, or post-exposure prophylaxis, that has proved to be effective at keeping someone HIV-negative if they have been exposed to HIV through sex.

The legislation also prohibits insurance companies from requiring patients to obtain prior authorization before using their insurance benefits to obtain PrEP or PEP from a pharmacy.

The Board of Pharmacy has until July 1 to adopt the regulations needed for SB 159 to be implemented.

Gloria and Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) authored the bill.

2019 California laws that protect LGBTQ people

Parental rights

  • AB 785, the Uniform Parentage Act

This law benefits anyone, including LGBTQ couples, who use gamete banks to get pregnant.  The law requires the banks receiving gametes to maintain donor contact information that could be obtained by a child when they turn 18 years old. The law also clarifies health code regulations to include oocyte and embryo donors.

Assemblyman Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica) authored the bill.

  • AB 2684, the LGBTQ Family Law Modernization Act

Though signed into law in 2018, this law took effect January 1. It amends the parentage provisions of the state Family Code to treat same-sex parents equally. For example, unmarried, same-sex couples receive parental protections and are recognized as parents.

Bloom also authored this bill.

  • SB 495

This law says that a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity can’t be used to disqualify them from being an adoptive parent or legal guardian of a child.

Sen. Maria Elena Durazo (D-Los Angeles) authored the bill.

Insurance industry

  • SB 534

It requires California’s $310 billion insurance industry to biennially report how much it contracts with businesses owned by women, people of color, veterans, and LGBTQ people. Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara, who identifies as gay, co-sponsored the legislation. It also revives the state agency’s Insurance Diversity Initiative, which wants to confirm that insurers have diverse suppliers and governing boards and expands its scope to include LGBTQ- and veteran-owned businesses.

Sen. Steven Bradford (D-Gardena) authored the bill. 


  • AB 962, Hospital Supplier Diversity Act

The law requires California hospitals with annual operating budgets more than $25 million to publicly disclose how much they are contracting with LGBTQ-owned businesses. The reports, which must be filed by July 1, 2020, also are required to include businesses owned by women, minorities, and other disadvantaged groups.

Assemblywoman Autumn Burke (D-Inglewood) and Assemblyman Rob Bonta (D-Oakland) authored the bill.

About the author

Phillip Zonkel

Award-winning journalist Phillip Zonkel spent 17 years at Long Beach's Press-Telegram, where he was the first reporter in the paper's history to have a beat covering the city's vibrant LGBTQ. He also created and ran the popular and innovative LGBTQ news blog, Out in the 562.

He won two awards and received a nomination for his reporting on the local LGBTQ community, including a two-part investigation that exposed anti-gay bullying of local high school students and the school districts' failure to implement state mandated protections for LGBTQ students.

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