Governor Walz has signed an executive order protecting the rights of LGBTQ people in Minnesota to receive gender affirming health care, striking back against other states restricting those rights.
“We want every Minnesotan to grow up feeling safe, valued, protected, celebrated, and free to exist as their authentic versions of themselves,” Gov. Tim Walz said on Wednesday. “Protecting and supporting access to gender affirming health care is essential to being a welcoming and supportive state.”
In recent years, over 150 bills targeting trans rights have been introduced in various states. Laws restricting bathroom access, determining that trans children cannot play sports as their own gender, making it illegal to perform in ‘gender non-conforming clothes,’ or to provide supportive care, including therapy, to trans youth.
“I don’t know what a group of people in Pierre who decide to make life miserable and more dangerous for people are thinking, but it’s not going to happen in Minnesota,” Walz said, singling out Governor Kristi Noem of neighboring state South Dakota, who made gender affirming care for minors a criminal offense last month.
The order signed by Governor Walz protects trans people, families and care providers from legal repercussions from other states as well in seeking gender affirming care. It’s also meant only to be a temporary measure. More solid protection is hopefully coming, with legislation waiting for a vote in the state House. If it goes through, and lawmakers are optimistic, it will make Minnesota a refuge state for transgender people. Another bill pending vote will ban conversion therapy.
The author of the bill, Representative Leigh Finke, is Minnesota’s first openly transgender legislator. She is proof of the importance and value of representative politics.
“The lives of trans and gender expansive people this nation are under attack,” Finke said. “There is a full-scale movement in this nation against trans, nonbinary, two-spirit and gender expansive adults and children that seeks to make our community disappear.”
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