By Maria Caspani
(Reuters) – Democratic lawmakers from 16 states on Tuesday pledged to introduce legislation providing legal refuge to transgender youth and their families displaced by restrictive laws in their states.
These states will join legislative efforts already under way in California, New York and Minnesota to provide a coordinated response to a recent wave of laws and measures banning gender-affirming care for transgender youth in multiple conservative states including Texas and Alabama.
“This attack on the very existence of our community is something that we will not accept and we’re going to fight and push back very, very hard,” said California state Senator Scott Wiener as he announced the coalition at an event with the LGBTQ Victory Institute and other civil rights groups.
Wiener is the sponsor of a California bill introduced in March that is serving as a template for other states. It would, among other things, reject any out-of-state court judgment removing transgender children from their parents in cases where parents allow their kids to receive gender-affirming care against local measures.
It would also bar compliance with any out-of-state subpoenas seeking to obtain health or other related information on individuals who come to California to receive such care, Wiener has said.
The rollout of refuge legislation will have to wait in many of the 16 states where legislative sessions have already wrapped up, and might face opposition in some legislatures.
Annise Parker, the president and CEO of the LGBTQ Victory Institute, said it was nonetheless important for leaders to send “a very clear message” to trans youth and their families.
“We see you, we hear you, we support you and we’re going to do everything in our power to make you safe,” Parker said.
(Reporting by Maria Caspani in New York; Editing by Matthew Lewis)