Senator Wiener’s Work on LGBTQ Issues
A gay man, Senator Wiener has dedicated much of his life to supporting the LGBT community, going back to 1990, when as a college student in North Carolina recently out of the closet, he volunteered on an HIV crisis hotline. Over the nearly 30 years since that time, Senator Wiener has gone to the mat for his community repeatedly.
In the Senate, Senator Wiener works tirelessly to safeguard and expand the rights of all communities, including the LGBT community.
During his first year in the Senate, Senator Wiener authored SB 219 to establish an LGBT Senior Bill of Rights, which protects LGBT seniors living in long-term care facilities from discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or HIV status. He also authored and passed SB 239, to modernize HIV criminalization laws. SB 239 brings California statutes up to date with the current understanding of HIV prevention, treatment, and transmission, in order to reduce stigma around HIV and improve public health outcomes. He joint authored a bill with Senate President Toni Atkins to create a third, non-binary marker on government IDs. Known as the Gender Recognition Act of 2017, SB 179 also eliminates obstacles for transgender and non-binary individuals trying to get a state ID.
In 2018, Senator Wiener authored the Dignity and Opportunity Act to provide greater protection to transgender individuals in our criminal justice system. Knowing that 40% of California’s homeless youth identify as LGBT, Senator Wiener also authored and passed the Youth Homelessness Act of 2018 to help address California’s homeless youth epidemic.
Before Senator Wiener’s election to the Senate, as a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, he authored legislation banning public spending in states with anti-LGBT hate laws, ensuring transgender individuals were covered by San Francisco’s universal health care program, and requiring more attention to the needs of LGBT seniors. He helped craft and implement San Francisco’s “Getting to Zero” strategy to end new HIV infections, HIV deaths, and HIV- related stigma, and he publicly announced that he takes PrEP (a once-daily pill to essentially eliminate risk of HIV infection), in order to raise awareness around this powerful HIV preventative and to reduce the stigma surrounding it.
Before he was elected to the Board of Supervisors, Senator Wiener co-chaired the Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club, BALIF (the Bay Area’s LGBT bar association), and the San Francisco LGBT Community Center. He also served on the national Board of Directors of the Human Rights Campaign.