Gloria Leads California Legislature to Pass First of its Kind Bill for Transgender Foster Youth Rights

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Gloria Sends Landmark Bill to Governor Brown to Give Transgender Foster Youth Access to Healthcare Consistent with Gender Identity

SACRAMENTO, CA – Groundbreaking transgender rights legislation authored by California State Assemblymember Todd Gloria (D-San Diego) that would provide transgender foster youth access to healthcare consistent with their gender identity was officially approved by the California State Legislature today and now heads to Governor Jerry Brown.

The passage of AB 2119 today is a momentous sign of hope for transgender foster youth living in the system growing up feeling neglected, forgotten, or out of place. With this bill, I hope those foster youth will be assured that we see you, we care about you, and there is a place for you in California,” said Assemblymember Todd Gloria. “AB 2119 will empower transgender foster youth to live authentically and simply be themselves. Governor Brown now has the power to make that a reality.”

AB 2119 clarifies the right of youth in foster care to access gender-affirming healthcare and behavioral health service – meaning, healthcare that respects the gender identity of a patient as defined by the patient. In addition, it would require 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.

"Ensuring that Californians in foster care have access to life-saving, gender-affirming health care not only saves lives, but gives LGBTQ foster youth room to focus on other important aspects of their lives, including succeeding in school, building healthy relationships, and fully engaging in positive youth development programs," said Equality California Executive Director Rick Zbur. “We’re proud to stand with Assemblymember Todd Gloria in support of AB 2119 and are grateful to the legislators who stood up for transgender and gender nonconforming youth.”

Gender-affirming treatment involves an individualized approach that permits transgender and gender non-conforming youth to explore and understand their gender identity. It can include interventions to align their outward appearance more closely to their gender identity thereby allowing patients to be seen by others in a way that more closely reflects who they are.

Every young person in foster care deserves, and is entitled to, medically necessary health and behavioral health care. The harms caused by the denial or delay of medically necessary care are particularly acute for transgender and gender non-conforming children and youth, who often encounter barriers to receiving the care they need to ensure their health, safety and well-being,” said Shannan Wilber, Youth Policy Director at the National Center for Lesbian Rights. “We urge Governor Brown to sign this important bill to remove these barriers and provide the support essential to help these vulnerable young people thrive and reach their full potential.”

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

The Governor has until September 30, 2018 to sign or veto all bills.