California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) has signed a law that makes the nation’s most populous state a sanctuary for transgender youth.
Public radio station KQED reported that Newsom signed the law in September. The law guarantees trans youth from elsewhere can safely access hormones or puberty blockers in the state. The legislation also shields families from child abuse investigations or from being criminally prosecuted for seeking gender-affirming care.
“In California we believe in equality and acceptance. We believe that no one should be prosecuted or persecuted for getting the care they need — including gender-affirming care,” Newsom said in a signing message. “Parents know what’s best for their kids, and they should be able to make decisions around the health of their children without fear. We must take a stand for parental choice.”
The law goes in the opposite direction of many proposed state laws this year. Many conservative states have considered or passed laws aimed at trans youth, with some even criminalizing gender-affirming care.
KQED reported that the law was authored by State Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), which declares that any potential out-of-state arrest warrant for violating laws related to such care will be given “the lowest law enforcement priority.”
The radio station also reported that groups such as Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) and The Heritage Foundation have opposed the bill. Both ADF and Heritage have been named hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center. More than 45 organizations signed a letter urging a veto against the law.
“We want these treatments to not be happening on minors because they’re permanent,” Greg Burt, director of capitol engagement for the California Family Council, told KQED. “We do not assume that your body is the problem. We think it’s much more logical to encourage young people to try and get their minds to match their bodies.”
The American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Psychiatric Association have all stated that gender-affirming care for youth is safe and necessary.