Amidst all the rise in anti-trans legislation in the US, several states welcome the trans and gender diverse community with open arms. These states seek to protect trans people’s right to access gender affirming healthcare. We welcome every support from each state trying to improve trans lives.
The state of transgender care in the US has significantly worsened over the course of a year. Governments are passing laws that prohibit trans minors and young adults from receiving gender affirming healthcare. However, in the past couple of months, five US states and one city are turning things around!
Minnesota, Maryland, New Jersey, Washington, Colorado, Missouri, and Kansas City, are making a difference for the US transgender community. These states have become safe spaces for young trans and gender diverse people.
Minnesota signs order to protect Trans People seeking Gender Affirming Healthcare
In March 2023, the state of Minnesota became a refuge for LGBTQ+ people, particularly for the transgender community. Tim Walz, the governor of Minnesota, signed an executive order ensuring that trans people who are forced to leave their home can find refuge in the Midwestern state.
Any trans person who flees from their state because they cannot access gender affirming healthcare will be welcomed in Minnesota. The Executive Order 23-03 demands all state agencies to protect trans individuals seeking life-saving care. Under this order, healthcare providers who offer transgender healthcare are also protected.
Walz prohibited state agencies from helping any investigation that would penalise trans people for seeking gender affirming medical care. The state also refuses to give out any information about individuals who travel to Minnesota to obtain such life-saving care. Therefore, becoming a refuge for the US trans and gender diverse community.
Tim Walz’s executive order states that other US Governments’ anti-trans bills ‘pose a grave threat to the health of LGBTQIA+ individuals by preventing them from affirming their gender identities through safe and scientifically proven treatments’. We couldn’t agree more.
The state of Maryland is committed to improving Trans Lives
In March 2023, right after Minnesota’s great news, the state of Maryland showed its commitment to improving trans people’s lives. The Maryland legislature passed a bill requiring all state Medicaid plans to cover gender affirming treatment costs.
The senate bill 460, also known as the Trans Health Equity Act, demands that the Maryland Medical Assistance Program provides all the necessary gender affirming medical care without discriminating against their patients.
The Trans Health Equity Act will cover hormone therapy, puberty blockers, voice training, hair removal, fertility preservation, and some surgeries. In May 2023, Governor Wes Moore finally signed the legislation. This means that the Trans Health Equity Act will officially come into effect on January 1st 2024. Medicaid plans for transgender people from lower-class backgrounds will now cover gender affirming services.
New Jersey, Washington and Colorado are ready to protect Trans Rights
In April 2023, New Jersey, Washing and Colorado passed laws to protect trans people.
The state of New Jersey has promised to be a safe space for trans people who seek transgender care. Just like in Minnesota, the Democratic governor of New Jersey, Phil Murphy signed an executive order protecting a trans individual’s right to access transgender medical care.
This means that all state agencies are legally required to safeguard trans people who would otherwise be persecuted for trying to access the care they deserve. New Jersey became at least the third US state to serve as a refuge for the trans community.
Shortly thereafter, legislators in Washington also decided to pass a shield law to protect trans folk and their families. This bill includes gender affirming care as a protected health service. It also forbids any state authorities from harming trans people who seek said medical care. The state of Colorado also joined New Jersey and Washington and passed similar shield laws to protect both trans people and their families.
Kansas City becomes a sanctuary city for Trans People
In April 2023, Missouri restricted access to gender affirming healthcare. The state released an emergency order containing a lot of misinformation, such as trans identity being a social contagion. Trans people with a diagnosis of gender dysphoria will now have to wait for a minimum of three years before starting hormone therapy.
However, amidst these horrible restrictions, Kansas City stood up for trans rights. Only a couple weeks later, in May 2023, the largest city in Missouri introduced a bill that would make Kansas City a sanctuary for trans people seeking and receiving transgender care. The LGBTQ+ Commission of Kansas City explained that the proposed legislation would create ‘municipal policy around access in the City of Kansas City’ for trans individuals receiving gender affirming care.
Moreover, in June 2023, a federal judge in the state of Arkansas was able to overturn the state’s ban on gender affirming healthcare for young trans people. The judge found the ban to violate the ‘constitutional rights of trans patients, their families and health providers’. This is a significant win, showcasing individual people’s fight for the protection of trans rights.
Support from each US state matters
Research has proven over and over again that gender affirming healthcare improves the mental health and well-being of trans people. However, governments around the world seem to disregard these scientific studies and focus on their crusade to strip trans people of their basic human rights.
Even though transgender rights in the US are at stake, many states are still fighting and standing up for trans people, showing that all hope is not lost. We welcome these efforts and respect anyone who tries to combat a system designed to oppress a community of people. We will never stop caring and fighting for trans rights!