Washington Gov. Jay Inslee on Tuesday, May 16, signed into law a measure protecting transgender minors seeking gender-affirming care in that state from estranged parents trying to interfere with that decision.
The new law, according to a report by the Associated Press, “is part of a wave of legislation this year in Democratic-led states intended to give refuge amid a conservative movement in which lawmakers in other states have attacked transgender rights and limited or banned gender-affirming care for minors.”
Inslee signed the protective measure a day before the Texas Senate gave final approval to SB 14 — which bans gender-affirming care for transgender minors — and sent it to Gov. Greg Abbott for his signature.
SB 15 is scheduled to go into effect on Sept. 1 in Texas, but transgender advocates here have pledged to file legal challenges against the new law as soon as Abbott signs it.
Previously, licensed shelters and host homes in Washington had generally been required to notify parents within 72 hours when a minor came into their care. But under the new law, facilities can instead contact the state Department of Children, Youth and Families, which could then attempt to reunify the family if feasible.
The youths will also be allowed to stay at host homes — private, volunteer homes that temporarily house young people without parental permission.
Shortly before signing the bill into law, Inslee said that with it, “Washington leads the way by taking a more compassionate, developmentally appropriate and reasoned approach to support these youth as they access gender-affirming treatment and reproductive health care services.”
More than a half-dozen states, from New Jersey to Vermont to Colorado, have passed or are considering similar bills or executive orders around transgender health care, civil rights and other legal protections. In Michigan, Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in March signed a bill outlawing discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation for the first time in her state.
Oregon lawmakers are also expected to pass a bill that would further expand insurance coverage for gender-affirming care to include things like facial hair removal and Adam’s apple reduction surgery, procedures currently considered cosmetic by insurers but seen as critical to the mental health of transitioning women.