LGBTQ Lawmakers in 16 States to Introduce Trans Refuge State Laws; Will Shield Trans Kids from Penalties When Seeking Gender-Affirming Care

Washington, DC – LGBTQ Victory Institute, California state Senator Scott Wiener, Equality California and Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California today announced a national, queer lawmaker-led rollout of trans refuge state legislation in 16 states. While these laws will look different in each state, the objectives are the same: shield trans kids and their families from penalties when seeking gender-affirming care to the greatest extent possible. Based off template legislation by Senator Wiener (full text), trans refuge state bills have now been introduced in New York and Minnesota.

Over the past week, LGBTQ Victory Institute engaged its network of LGBTQ elected officials, including the 191 LGBTQ state lawmakers currently serving across the country, and provided them Senator Wiener’s template bill and other resources. Victory Institute also hosted a briefing on Friday, April 29 with LGBTQ elected officials to brief them on this legislation and to strategize on its implementation.

Today, 21 LGBTQ lawmakers representing 16 states publicly committed to introduce trans refuge state bills in Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington and West Virginia.

“When trans kids’ lives are on the line, playing defense doesn’t cut it. It’s time to play offense. We are using the collective power of LGBTQ state legislators all across the nation to launch a counter-offensive that aims to protect trans kids and parents while also demonstrating that there is a positive agenda for trans people that lawmakers can support. While LGBTQ elected officials will fight tooth and nail to get these passed in every state, now we need allies to step up to help us get it done. And even in states that have little chance of these bills advancing, the message it sends is still incredibly important: trans kids need to know they have leaders standing up and fighting for them,” said Mayor Annise Parker, President & CEO of LGBTQ Victory Institute.

“Today, we’re proud to announce that over a third of the states in our country are pushing back on the horrendous anti-trans legislation we’re seeing in Texas and elsewhere. Starting with our legislation in California, we are building a coordinated national legislative campaign by LGBTQ lawmakers to provide refuge for trans kids and their families. We’re making it crystal clear: we will not let trans kids be belittled, used as political pawns and denied gender-affirming care. We won’t let their parents be criminalized or have their kids taken away. This first of its kind legislative effort sends a clear message both to our community and to those who are attacking our community – that we’re all in this together,” said California state Senator Scott Wiener.

“Parents should not live in fear of being hunted down by the government for loving and supporting their child. As a native Texan, I’m ashamed of Governor Abbott’s hateful attacks against trans kids and their families. But as a Californian, I’m so proud of our state for serving as a beacon of hope and a place of refuge for those children and their parents. We are thankful to Senator Wiener, the Legislative LGBTQ Caucus and our partners at Planned Parenthood for standing with trans youth and their families in this fight,” said Tony Hoang, Executive Director of Equality California.

“Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California stands with all LGBTQ+ communities, particularly transgender communities, during this moment. We are all too familiar with the extreme and dangerous policing of essential health care and restrictions targeting the trans community—especially trans youth. Planned Parenthood health centers across California will always be open, for all who seek or need care. We strongly support these protections put forth by Senator Wiener,” said Jodi Hicks, President & CEO of Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California.

Below is the full list of state lawmakers who have already introduced or will introduce trans refuge state legislation as soon as possible:

  • California state Senator Scott Wiener
  • Colorado state Representative Brianna Titone
  • Connecticut state Representative Raghib Allie-Brennan
  • Florida state Senator Shevrin Jones
  • Florida state Representative Michele Rayner
  • Georgia state Representative Karla Drenner
  • Georgia state Representative Park Cannon
  • Illinois state Representative Kelly Cassidy
  • Illinois state Representative Lamont Robinson
  • Kansas state Representative Brandon Woodard
  • Kentucky state Representative Keturah Herron
  • Maine state Representative Laurie Osher
  • Michigan state Senator Jeremy Moss
  • Minnesota state Senator Scott Dibble
  • Minnesota state Representative Liz Reyer
  • New Hampshire state Representative Gerri Cannon
  • New Mexico state Representative Roger Montoya
  • New York state Assemblymember Harry Bronson
  • New York state Senator Brad Hoylman
  • Oregon state Senator Kate Lieber
  • Oregon state Representative Dacia Grayber
  • Rhode Island state Senator Tiara TyShae Mack
  • Vermont state Representative Taylor Small
  • Washington state Senator Marko Liias
  • West Virginia state Delegate Cody Thompson

“This is important legislation for any state to help defend against anti-transgender policies. We have to combat hateful discriminatory laws with every tool we have. When they go low, we need to go high,” said Colorado state Representative Brianna Titone.

“From our state legislatures to Congress, we stand against these laws that are trying to wipe away the history of the LGBTQ community. These so called ‘leaders’ must understand that when you come for one of us, you come for all us, and we will not stand down,” said Florida state Senator Shevrin Jones.

“We have made strides to ensure the LGBTQ community has protections. Now is the time to ensure our LGBTQ youth have protections as well,” said Kentucky state Representative Keturah Herron.

“Politicians across the country are playing games with people’s lives by criminalizing the fundamental right of trans youth and their families to seek gender-affirming health care. While we cannot stop these despicable laws from being enacted in other states, we can make sure that these youth and their families can safely receive the care they need in Minnesota, without fear or hatred,” said Minnesota state Senator Scott Dibble.

“These assaults on families are unacceptable, immoral and something that we must stand together as a state and reject. We must do everything we can to send a clear message that these families are welcome here,” said Minnesota state Representative Liz Reyer.

“Punishing parents for taking care of their children isn’t a crime, it’s a parental responsibility. Transgender children and their families need the support of their community, not the threat of imprisonment,” said New Hampshire state Representative Gerri Cannon.

“It is clear that politicians are using vulnerable trans people to stoke fear and hatred to win elections. We will not allow our state laws to be abused to serve their political agenda. I look forward to seeing Washington State join a coalition of states that are standing up for the rights and dignity of trans people,” said Washington state Senator Marko Liias.

“Attacks to the trans community, especially our trans youth, have been far too numerous. We need to stand strong with the trans community by introducing legislation to protect our trans children from hostile state legislatures. I will proudly introduce legislation in West Virginia to ensure our trans children and their parents are protected and supported,” said West Virginia Delegate Cody Thompson.

About Victory Institute

LGBTQ Victory Institute works to achieve and sustain global equality through leadership development, training, and convening to increase the number, expand the diversity, and ensure the success of openly LGBTQ elected and appointed officials at all levels of government.