LGBT Leadership: First-in-the-Nation Bill by Assemblymember Gloria to Protect Transgender Foster Youth Passes Assembly

Monday, May 21, 2018

Gloria Bill to Provide California Foster Youth Access to Healthcare Consistent with Gender Identity Moves Forward

SACRAMENTO, CA – On the same day that the California State Legislature remembered the life and legacy of Harvey Milk, the Assembly passed landmark legislation by California State Assemblymember Todd Gloria (D-San Diego) to protect transgender foster youth and affirm their right to access healthcare services consistent with their gender identity. AB 2119, the first bill of its kind in the United States, was approved today on a bipartisan vote of 46 to 22 and now heads to the State Senate.

Harvey Milk reminded us of the importance of hope. He believed all young people deserve a safe and supportive environment to achieve their full potential. It’s in this spirit that I authored AB 2119 – to give California’s foster youth hope that they can grow up, live authentically, and be exactly who they are meant to be,” said Assemblymember Todd Gloria. “California has long been a bellwether for inclusivity. With AB 2119, we send a clear message to transgender foster youth that they are not alone, there is a place for them in this state, and we will make certain they can access the care and support they need.”

AB 2119 would require county health and human services agencies – 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.

Stopping foster youth from accessing medically necessary care is discriminatory and can threaten lives,” 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 Assemblymembers who stood up for transgender and gender nonconforming youth today.”

Under the bill, “gender affirming healthcare or behavioral health services” are 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.

By guaranteeing access to gender-affirming health care, AB 2119 extends a critical lifeline to transgender and gender nonconforming youth and young adults in the foster care system. Too often, these young people struggle with gender dysphoria in isolation -- with no family or social supports,” said Shannan Wilber, youth policy director at the National Center for Lesbian Rights. “This bill will ensure that they have access to trained clinicians who can help them explore and understand their treatment options.”

AB 2119 is an important step to clarify that transgender and gender nonconforming foster youth have a right to access gender-affirming healthcare just like all other medical and mental health care,” said Becca Cramer-Mowder, Legislative Coordinator with the ACLU of California Center for Advocacy and Policy.

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.

As part of today’s session, Assemblymember Gloria also co-authored Assembly Concurrent Resolution 237 declaring May 2018 as Foster Care Month and House Resolution 108 commemorating May 22, 2018 as Harvey Milk Day.

The full text of AB 2119 can be accessed here.