US state lawmakers pledge to create refuge bills for transgender youth

Democratic lawmakers from 16 US states pledged Tuesday to introduce legislation providing legal refuge to transgender youth and their families affected by restrictive state laws which limit the ability of transgender youth to receive gender-affirming healthcare.

The pledge was led by California state Senator Scott Wiener and was announced by LGBTQ Victory Institute, a non-profit dedicated to legal advancements for the queer community.

In a joint statement from the involved legislators, Senator Wiener said:

Today, we’re proud to announce that over a third of the states in our country are pushing back on the horrendous anti-trans legislation we’re seeing in Texas and elsewhere… We are building a coordinated national legislative campaign by LGBTQ lawmakers to provide refuge for trans kids and their families. We’re making it crystal clear: we will not let trans kids be belittled, used as political pawns and denied gender-affirming care.

In 2021 Senator Wiener sponsored SB 107, a California state senate bill which aims to shield trans children and their families from penalties when seeking gender-affirming care. After SB 107 was introduced, similar bills were drafted in New York and Minnesota. Now 16 states from all regions of the US have pledged to introduce trans refuge legislation.

Mayor Annise Parker, President of the LGBT Victory Institute, spoke in firm support of the growing coalition of states, proclaiming:

When trans kids’ lives are on the line, playing defense doesn’t cut it. It’s time to play offense. We are using the collective power of LGBTQ state legislators all across the nation to launch a counter-offensive that aims to protect trans kids and parents while also demonstrating that there is a positive agenda for trans people that lawmakers can support.