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New York to offer refuge for people seeking transgender care

Gov. Kathy Hochul is expected to sign legislation that protects families who come to New York from states that have banned gender-affirming care.
New York to offer refuge for people seeking transgender care
Posted at 11:54 AM, Jun 20, 2023

New York will now join at least five other states including California and Minnesota in its passage of legislation allowing the state to be a safe haven for access to transgender care.

State lawmakers last week voted for the Safe Haven for Transgender Youth and Families Act. The refuge act was led by two gay lawmakers, New York state Sen. Brad Hoylman-Sigal and Assemblymember Harry Bronson, and is expected to be signed into law by Gov. Kathy Hochul. 

Bronson said the law is in response to the efforts to curtail the health care rights of transgender Americans in other states across the country.

According to the Human Rights Campaign, 19 states have banned gender-affirming care for people under the age of 18, including Florida, Texas and Arizona.

At the same time, Colorado, Illinois, Maryland and New Mexico lawmakers have passed legislation to shield transgender health care. 

The New York legislation prohibits the state from considering a law from another state that directs a child to be removed from their parent or guardian for allowing the child to receive gender-affirming care. It also bars law enforcement agencies from cooperating with any out-of-state agencies related to transgender issues, and bans arrests or the issuance of subpoenas due to out-of-state proceedings tied to people coming to New York to receive care. Providers offering gender-affirming care will be protected from extradition under the law. 

In the last six years the LGBTQ+ community has been at a crossroads, Bronson said. While some states, like New York, have increased rights and protections, other states have focused on discrimination by restricting rights and access to care and protections. Nowhere has this been more prevalent than toward the trans and nonbinary community, he said. 

“New York will not participate in this hate. We will, instead, support and protect people to live their authentic self,” Bronson said. 

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The law will make New York a refuge for transgender, gender non-confirming, non-binary, and intersex individuals, their families, and their health providers, Bronson said. He expects a surge in people coming to New York to seek gender-affirming care. 

New York’s refuge comes after the United States Catholic bishops issued guidelines to stop Catholic hospitals from providing gender transition care. The 14-page doctrinal note, titled “Moral Limits to the Technological Manipulation of the Human Body,” sets forth guidelines for changing a person’s sex, specifically with youth. The document says Catholic hospitals “must not perform interventions, whether surgical or chemical, that aim to transform the sexual characteristics of a human body into those of the opposite sex, or take part in the development of such procedures.” 

The Human Rights Campaign declared a national state of emergency for LGBTQ+ Americans due to the laws targeting the community. Three in 10 trans youth ages 13 to 17 live in states that have passed bans on gender-affirming care, according to HRC.    

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