Fact Check: California Did NOT Make 'Trans History Month' Before Women's History Month

Fact Check

  • by: Marlo Lee
Fact Check: California Did NOT Make 'Trans History Month' Before Women's History Month March 1988

Did the state of California declare a "Trans History Month" before declaring a Women's History Month? No, that's not true: California first recognized Women's History Month in 1988, and the governor has proclaimed it every March since 1995. California is tentatively planning to celebrate its first Transgender History Month in August 2024, roughly 36 years after its first Women's History Month. But, as of this writing, Transgender History Month is only recognized in a non-binding resolution in the state legislature.

The claim appeared on X, formerly known as Twitter, (archived here) where it was published on September 8, 2023. The post read:

Interesting How California Made A Trans History Month Before A Women's History Month

This is what the post looked like on X at the time of writing:

image (39).png

Twitter screenshot(Source: X screenshot taken on Mon Sep 11 15:16:14 2023 UTC)

There is no evidence accompanying the post to support this claim: no citation to public records, no state calendar notice, no declarations from public officials.

According to a FOX40 article (archived here), only the California State Assembly has voted on the resolution to recognize August as Transgender History Month, with that vote coming during the week of September 6, 2023. Adoption by the Assembly without Senate approval only means it is not law, but rather "proclamations made by the respective legislative body on a particular topic," according to a consultant from the Legislative Women's Caucus of California who Lead Stories contacted for this fact check.

A resolution (archived here) is "a formal statement of opinion or a decision to take an action." The first Transgender History Month for California would take place August 2024, according to reporting by FOX40. FastDemocracy.com is a website that tracks any U.S. legislation, and at the time of writing, Transgender History Month has only passed the California State Assembly (archived here). It has yet to pass the Senate and has not been signed into law.

We spoke to Karen Bocaling Lapis (archived here), a consultant for the Legislative Women's Caucus of California. In an September 14, 2023, email, Lapis told us that the claim seen in the X post is "completely false." She continues:

National Women's History Month was first established by Congress in 1987, following nearly a decade of increasingly popular observances in California and beyond of Women's History Week ... There are online legislative resources available to the public going back as early as 2000 documenting the California Legislature's observances of Women's History Month.

The website, womenshistorymonth.org (archived here), states that since 1995, presidents of the United States have annually proclaimed March to be Women's History Month.

In regards to the Transgender History Month resolution, Lapis explained in that same September 14, 2023, email that the resolution was a single-house resolution, meaning it originated and was approved of in one of the two chambers of the state legislature, in this case the State Assembly. Because it only stayed in one chamber, it does not have to be voted on by the Senate (the other half of the legislative branch) nor does it have to be signed by the governor of California. She continues:

While single-house resolutions (i.e., Senate Resolutions or House Resolutions) only need approval of its house of origin, concurrent resolutions (i.e. Senate Concurrent Resolutions or Assembly Concurrent Resolutions) must be approved by both houses of the California Legislature. Unlike bills, these resolutions have no direct effect on California code, and is thus not "the law", so to speak, but rather, they are proclamations made by the respective legislative body on a particular topic.

In a September 18, 2023, email from Natalia Garcia (archived here), an associate consultant for the California Legislative LGBTQ Caucus, if the assembly members wanted Transgender History Month to be proclaimed annually by the governor, like Women's History Month, they'd have to get it passed as a legislative bill:

A legislative resolution (i.e. "HR/SR" for example) does not hold the force/effect of law. If a Member wished for "August as Transgender History Month" to be proclaimed annually by the governor, they'd have to run a legislative bill ... to require the governor to do so (see "AB 1432, Low, 2022 - Chapter 947, Statutes of 2022" as an example of a bill requiring the Governor proclaim June as LGBTQ+ Pride Month).

AB stands for Assembly Bill. AB 1432 can be read in full here.

In 1988, California's governor declared March 1988 the first Women's History Month for the state. That proclamation can be found here (archived here). Lead Stories could not find any legislation that permanently designates March as Women's History Month for the state.

Other Lead Stories articles on transgender issues can be found here.

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Marlo Lee is a fact checker at Lead Stories. She is a graduate of Howard University with a B.S. in Biology. Her interest in fact checking started in college, when she realized how important it became in American politics. She lives in Maryland.

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