On Friday, the Minnesota House voted to approve the state’s proposed transgender refuge law, which would protect trans youth who reside in jurisdictions that forbid the provision of care for gender affirming identities and who must travel to Minnesota for treatment.
HF146 would stop other states from taking children away from their families because they are receiving care that is gender affirming if it were to become law. Families, transgender persons, and healthcare personnel are also shielded from extradition requests and other legal ramifications when traveling to Minnesota for medical treatment under the terms of the measure.
“A child removal order issued by a court in another state because the measure states that “the enforcement of the requirement that a child’s parent or guardian helped the kid in receiving gender-affirming care in this state shall not be implemented in this state.”
The bill was approved by the house on Trans Day of Visibility with a vote of 68-62; it now goes to the Senate. If it comes across Gov. Tim Walz’s desk, the Democrat has promised to sign it into law.
One of the bill’s writers and the first openly transgender official in the state of Minnesota, Rep. Leigh Finke, told STAT News that the urgency couldn’t be any greater for her community. “We want to be the kind of state that says: If someone needs help, we want to be the kind of state that will aid them.”
After California, which established itself as the first sanctuary state for transgender persons seeking medical care, Minnesota would become the second state to adopt laws granting them protection.
The bill was introduced against the backdrop of what seems to be unrelenting anti-trans hatred across the U.S. Almost 500 anti-trans bills have been proposed in at least 47 states this year, many of which prohibit gender-affirming practices or even equate gender-affirming care for children with child abuse. There are currently at least ten states with laws banning care that is gender-affirming, including Arkansas, Florida, Tennessee, and Utah.
Recently, South Dakota, which shares a border with Minnesota, passed a law outlawing the provision of gender-affirming healthcare and requiring medical professionals to de-transition any minor patients before the end of the year. When they try to figure out how to get their trans children the essential treatment they need, many families are in a bind. Several parents are looking for gender-affirming care for their children in Minnesota, including Elizabeth Broekemeier.
Shortly after South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem signed the restriction into law, Broekemeier told VICE News, “It’s a matter of my son having to miss school or myself or my ex-husband having to take time from work to go.” Yet, it is frightening to consider what would happen if Minnesota doesn’t work out because I am unsure of our options other than forcibly detaining my child.
After searching for out-of-state care for her son, Broekemeier discovered two Minnesota clinics that were covered by her insurance. Her family would be safeguarded by Minnesota’s legislation.
Also, it may ultimately safeguard a large number of other Midwesterner families. While North Dakota has been trying to make gender-affirming care for kids illegal, Iowa approved a law banning it earlier this month. Democrats have attempted to stop anti-trans legislation in Nebraska, but the state legislature is still considering a trans healthcare ban.
According to studies, trans persons have higher rates of mental health issues than cisgender people, including anxiety, sadness, PTSD, and suicidal thoughts. As opposed to transgender people who must wait until they are adults to transition, teens who have access to gender-affirming therapy often experience better mental health outcomes.