California Becomes First in Nation to Guarantee Gender Affirming Healthcare for Transgender Foster Youth

Monday, September 17, 2018

Governor Brown Signs Landmark Transgender Rights Bill by Assemblymember Gloria Providing Transgender Foster Youth Expanded Access to Healthcare Services

SAN DIEGO, CA – Today, California State Assemblymember Todd Gloria (D-San Diego) announced Governor Jerry Brown’s signing of his bill, AB 2119 – landmark transgender rights legislation guaranteeing the right of California’s foster youth to access healthcare services consistent with their gender identity. AB 2119 is the first bill of its kind in the United States.

This is the beginning of a new and hopeful day for the many foster youth in California. With the signing of this bill, we tell our foster youth that no matter who you are or how you identify, there is a place for you in California,” said Assemblymember Todd Gloria. “We want our future generations to know they have a safe place to grow up and live. At its core, that’s what this bill does – we empower transgender and gender non-conforming foster youth to live authentically despite their circumstances. I want to thank Governor Brown for signing this bill into law – an act which I truly believe will save lives.”

AB 2119 establishes the right of youth in foster care to access gender-affirming healthcare, behavioral health, and mental health services. “Gender-affirming healthcare” specifically refers to healthcare that respects the gender identity of a patient as experienced and defined by the patient. This includes interventions to align a patient’s physical appearance with the patient’s gender identity and interventions to alleviate symptoms of gender dysphoria – the conflict between a person’s physical gender and the gender with which they identify.

"Once again, Governor Brown has taken decisive action to protect LGBTQ youth in foster care," said Equality California Executive Director Rick Zbur. "No young Californian should be denied gender-affirming health care simply because of who they are. Thanks to Assemblymember Gloria's AB 2119, our transgender and gender nonconforming youth in foster care will now have life-saving — and historic — protections."

In addition, AB 2119 requires the California Department of Social Services, in consultation with the California Department of Healthcare Services, to develop guidelines on how to identify, coordinate, and support foster youth who wish to access gender-affirming healthcare. This written guidance is designed to help caretakers better navigate the process of accessing gender-affirming healthcare for foster youth and must be issued by the Department by January 1, 2020.

AB 2119 was sponsored by Equality California, the American Civil Liberties Union of California, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, Lambda Legal, and the Los Angeles LGBT Center.