California Could Become Refuge for Trans Youth Seeking Care

·2 min read
Gavin Newsom
Gavin Newsom

Gov. Gavin Newsom could make California a sanctuary state for transgender youth as a bill to secure gender-affirming care reaches his desk.

The California Senate and Assembly have passed a bill that would prevent other states from taking legal action against California medical providers that provide care to patients from states where gender-affirming treatment is restricted.

The bill would protect health care providers in the event of lawsuits and would require that medical information be kept private. It also would prevent California police from arresting in-state providers for violating other states' laws and would make out-of-state warrants a low priority.

Equality California, California’s largest LGBTQ+ advocacy group and the largest queer statewide organization in the country, is a cosponsor of the bill.

“Attacks on the transgender community are not new,” the group wrote in a statement explaining its support for the bill, The Sacramento Bee repors. “But we are experiencing alarmingly blatant attempts to use legislation, policy, and political rhetoric to restrict or eliminate the autonomy, freedom, and existence of transgender people across the country.”

Since March, more than 300 anti-LGBTQ bills proposed by state legislators across the country. Half pointedly target transgender individuals. SB 107 comes in response to states such as Alabama and Arkansas that have passed laws banning gender-affirming care for trans youth, although those laws are temporarily blocked by court proceedings.

“One particularly pernicious type of anti-transgender legislation that several states have passed or are considering is legislation to prevent gender-affirming medical care,” says a Senate floor analysis of SB 107, according to the Bee.

The analysis also concludes that lack of access to gender-affirming care is a key cause of mental health problems among transgender youth. It cites a study finding that 86 percent of trans or nonbinary youth have suicidal thoughts, while 56 percent have attempted suicide.

The bill was written by Sen. Scott Wiener. “Our trans state of refuge bill is on its way to the Governor after just receiving final Senate approval!” he tweeted in response to its passage. “SB 107 sends a crystal clear message to the nation that no matter what vile anti-LGBTQ hate laws right-wing politicians think of, California will stand with our community.”

Newsom, a strong supporter of LGBTQ+ rights, has the rest of this month to sign or veto the bill.