Bill to Provide Foster Youth Access to Healthcare Consistent with Gender Identity Receives First Major Approval

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Gloria Bill to Establish the Right of Foster Youth to Access Gender Affirming Healthcare Services Approved by Human Services Committee

SACRAMENTO, CA – First-of-its-kind legislation authored by California State Assemblymember Todd Gloria (D-San Diego) that would codify the right of transgender and gender non-conforming youth in California’s foster care system to access healthcare services consistent with their gender identity received its first major approval today. AB 2119 passed the Assembly’s Human Services Committee by a vote of five to one and will now advance to the Assembly’s Appropriations Committee.

AB 2119 builds on the existing requirements of our foster care system to break down misinformation and stereotypes and ensure transgender and gender non-conforming youth can access the support and care they need,” stated Assemblymember Todd Gloria at today’s hearing. “The need to provide this kind of gender affirming care is urgent. Withholding it prolongs gender dysphoria and can provoke abuse and stigmatization. I am grateful the Committee recognized this urgency, and I thank them for their support.”

AB 2119 would require county health and human services agencies – more specifically, child welfare offices – to ensure gender affirming healthcare and/or behavioral health services are available to foster youth who request it personally or requested by the youth’s caregiver, attorney, Court Appointed Special Advocate, or social worker.

Under the bill, “gender affirming healthcare or behavioral health services” is defined as “health care or behavioral health services that respect the gender identity of the patient as experienced and defined by the patient.” This would include gender transition – meaning aligning one’s gender presentation closer to one’s gender identity. In addition, AB 2119 explicitly prohibits licensed professionals from subjecting or coercing foster youth into any treatment or intervention that seeks to alter their gender identity.

AB 2119 is co-authored by State Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) and co-sponsored by Equality California, ACLU of California, National Center for Lesbian Rights, Lambda Legal, and the Los Angeles LGBT Center.