By: Linda Wang
On Thursday, Sept. 29, governor Gavin Newsom officially signed a bill which established California as a refuge for transgender youth. Senate Bill 107, which takes effect starting Jan. 1, 2023, is a purposeful movement towards transgender awareness and transgender care.
As stated by the California legislature, SB 107 prohibits three main actions: first, the release of medical information relating to gender-affirming healthcare without authorization; second, the “arrest or extradition” of medical providers who provide gender-affirming care to transgender youth; and third, the court’s ability to revoke custody from a parent who grants their child gender-affirming care. SB 107 also allows California courts to determine jurisdiction for a child’s custody, specifically one who has left another state that outlaws gender-affirmative care.
Transgender individuals as a whole have experienced discrimination for decades, and not without consequence. Medical News Today reports that transgender individuals “are almost four times as likely as cisgender people to experience a mental health condition.” Around 40 percent of respondents in the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey had previously attempted suicide at least once in their lifetimes: “nearly nine times the attempted suicide rate in the U.S.”
State legislatures are a predominant source of transgender discrimination. In 2021 alone, “thirty-three states have introduced more than 100 bills that aim to curb the rights of transgender people,” CNN documents. Overall, “twenty states have introduced bills that prohibit or impede the administration of gender-affirming therapy to minors.” As a specific example, Alabama declared the administration of gender-affirming healthcare for minors under 19 to be a state felony. Tennessee passed a similar law against gender-affirming healthcare for prepubescent youth. With so many states denying proper healthcare for transgender individuals, SB 107 holds even more importance.
In his official statement to the California senate, Newsom declared, “We believe that no one should be prosecuted or persecuted for getting the care they need — including gender-affirming care… With the signing of this bill, California will ensure that these kids and their families can seek and obtain the medical and mental health care that they need.”
(Sources: CNN, leginfo.legislature.ca.gov, Medical News Today, NBC News)