Gender-affirming care has been targeted through bills in Republican-dominated state...

Gender-affirming care has been targeted through bills in Republican-dominated state legislatures, such as in Missouri. Above: Glenda Starke wears a transgender flag as a counter protest in the Missouri state capitol in March.  Credit: AP/Charlie Riedel

A new measure will make New York a “safe haven” for transgender youth from other states seeking gender-affirming care, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Sunday.

The legislation, which the governor signed just before the NYC Pride March, prevents state law enforcement agencies and courts from participating in other states’ efforts to punish people for seeking gender-affirming care in New York, among other provisions.

Hochul said the law comes at a time when over 500 anti-LGBTQ laws have been introduced in other states.

“This is wrong, it is an injustice,” the governor said of bills introduced elsewhere. “Our friends should not have to be enduring these injustices.”

The New York bill, sponsored by Sen. Brad Hoylman-Sigal (D-Manhattan) and Assemb. Harry Bronson (D-Rochester), amends the Family Court Act to prevent a child being removed in custody cases from a parent or guardian allowing them to receive gender-affirming care.

It also amends several other laws to stop New York agencies from sharing information about such care with other states, prohibits the issuance of subpoenas related to people coming here for related care or the arrest of someone aiding a person seeking care.

About 20 mostly Republican-controlled states have proposed restrictions or bans on gender-affirming care for minors, though such legislation often has been met with legal challenges. Just this past week, a U.S. District Court judge in Arkansas became the first to rule that such a ban is “unconstitutional,” according to The Associated Press, which noted that judges in Indiana and Florida have blocked similar bans.

Gender-affirming care, as defined by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, includes but is not limited to medical, surgical and mental health services for transgender and nonbinary people.

Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, said the legislation approved in New York is “an important step to protect the rights and well-being of the trans community — particularly young people and their families.”

“Access to gender-affirming care can be lifesaving,” Lieberman said in a statement.

Hochul announced she was also signing into law bills requiring gender neutral terms to be used in state laws and on state websites. Another bill signed Sunday aims to provide treatment for substance abuse issues related to gender identity, the governor said.

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