California passes bill allowing trans foster kids to access transition-related care

California State Assemblymember Todd Gloria, who introduced the historic bill

California lawmakers passed a historic bill ensuring that trans youth in foster care can access proper medical care.

The passage of this bill comes just days after the state signed legislation banning surgery on intersex infants.

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The bill, AB-2119, was introduced by openly gay Assemblymember Todd Gloria. It mandates that the California Department of Social Services develop guidelines by 2020. The guidelines are to outline best practices, ensuring trans youth are aware of their options. Additionally, the guidelines would allow them to access Medi-Cal services to pursue hormone or other medically necessary treatments.

Earlier this week, the bill was approved by the State Senate. After some amendments to the wording, it was approved by the Assembly with a 53-22 vote. It now heads to Governor Jerry Brown’s desk.

‘The passage of AB 2119 today is a momentous sign of hope for transgender foster youth living in the system growing up feeling neglected, forgotten, or out of place. With this bill, I hope those foster youth will be assured that we see you. We care about you, and there is a place for you in California,’ Gloria said in a statement.

‘AB 2119 will empower transgender foster youth to live authentically and simply be themselves. Governor Brown now has the power to make that a reality.’

Reactions by LGBTI advocacy groups

Equality California Executive Director Rick Zbur believes this bill has the possibility to save lives.

‘[The bill] gives LGBTQ foster youth room to focus on other important aspects of their lives, including succeeding in school, building healthy relationships, and fully engaging in positive youth development programs,’ Zbur said in a statement.

In addition, The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) also applauded the passage of this bill.

‘Every young person in foster care deserves, and is entitled to, medically necessary health and behavioral health care,’ Shannan Wilber, NCLR’s youth policy director, said in a statement.

‘The harms caused by the denial or delay of medically necessary care are particularly acute for transgender and gender non-conforming children and youth, who often encounter barriers to receiving the care they need to ensure their health, safety, and well-being.’