Senator Wiener’s Work on LGBTQ Issues
A gay man, Senator Wiener has dedicated much of his life to supporting the LGBTQ community, going back to 1990, when he came out in the middle of the AIDS crisis as a college student in North Carolina and volunteered on an AIDS crisis hotline. Over the 30 years since that time, Senator Wiener has been one of the strongest LGBTQ civil rights champions in the nation.
In the Senate, Senator Wiener works tirelessly to safeguard and expand the rights of all communities, including the LGBTQ community.
During his first year in the Senate, Senator Wiener authored SB 219 to establish an LGBTQ Seniors Bill of Rights, to protect LGBTQ 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 decriminalize HIV. 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 law 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 or to correct their gender on their 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 LGBTQ, Senator Wiener also authored the Youth Homelessness Act of 2018 to help address California’s homeless youth epidemic.
In 2020, Senator Wiener passed SB 132, which requires prisons to house transgender incarcerated individuals according to where they’re safest (for example, by gender identity), and SB 932, which mandates that all California health care providers collect sexual orientation and gender identity data on COVID-19 and all other reportable communicable diseases to ensure that the LGBTQ community is not left behind by our health care system.
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-LGBTQ hate laws, ensuring transgender individuals were covered by San Francisco’s universal health care program, and requiring more attention to the needs of LGBTQ 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 was the first public official in the nation to publicly announce 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 LGBTQ Democratic Club, BALIF (the Bay Area’s LGBTQ bar association), and the San Francisco LGBTQ Community Center. He also served on the national Board of Directors of the Human Rights Campaign.