New York State and City move to become safe haven for trans youth and families

Manhattan State Senator Brad Hoylman-Sigal and LGBTQ advocates in Albany earlier this year.
Manhattan State Senator Brad Hoylman-Sigal and LGBTQ advocates in Albany earlier this year.
New Pride Agenda

In response to the coordinated, state-by-state effort to curtail the healthcare rights of transgender Americans, New York State lawmakers passed legislation making New York State a safe haven for transgender individuals and New York City Mayor Eric Adams signed a related executive order preventing the use of city resources for out-of-state investigations into individuals for receiving or providing gender-affirming care.

The state’s effort to make New York a safe haven was led in the upper chamber by State Senator Brad Hoylman-Sigal of Manhattan and in the lower house by Assemblymember Harry Bronson of Rochester. Both lawmakers are gay.

Statewide LGBTQ groups New Pride Agenda and Equality New York strongly advocated for the legislation. The bill now goes to Governor Kathy Hochul’s desk.

“The NY Safe Haven for Transgender Youth and Families Act has passed both the State Senate and Assembly, clearing a way for NY to become a sanctuary state for Gender Affirming Care!” wrote the New Pride Agenda on Twitter. 

The state legislation prohibits New York State from considering a law from another state that directs a child to be removed from their parent or guardian for allowing the child to receive gender-affirming care. It also bars law enforcement agencies from cooperating with any out-of-state agency or department probe related to providing gender-affirming care in New York State. Furthermore, it bans arrests or the issuance of subpoenas due to out-of-state proceedings tied to people coming to New York to receive gender-affirming care. The law also bans extradition of providers offering gender-affirming care.

“Across this country, states are proposing and enacting hundreds of hateful laws to punish those seeking gender-affirming care for themselves or their children as well as those professionals who provide the care,” Bronson said in a written statement. “New York will not participate in this hate. We will, instead,  support and protect people to live their authentic self. This bill will make New York a safe haven for transgender, gender non-confirming, non-binary, and intersex individuals, their families, and their health providers who are under attack.”

The similar executive order in New York City stipulates that the city’s resources cannot be used to detain anyone receiving or providing gender-affirming care and restricts the city from cooperating with any out-of-state investigation into an individual for receiving or providing gender-affirming care.

“As states across the nation continue their onslaught of attacks on our LGBTQ+ neighbors, New York City is doing what we have always done — standing up for justice and against discrimination,” Adams said in a written statement. “This executive order reaffirms the fact that hate has no place in our city and that all people deserve the right to gender-affirming care and protection against prosecution for being who they are. To LGBTQ+ people across the nation feeling hurt, isolated, or threatened, we have a clear message for you: New York City has and will always be a welcoming home for you.”

The effort by the state and city to protect gender-affirming care comes less than a week after the Human Rights Campaign declared a national state of emergency for LGBTQ Americans due to the flood of laws targeting LGBTQ Americans — especially trans youth.

More than 75 anti-LGBTQ laws have been etched into law in 2023 alone, according to the Human Rights Campaign. More than 500 anti-LGBTQ bills have been introduced across 41 states and 220 of them have specifically targeted transgender individuals. Bans on gender-affirming care have been established in 20 states. Nearly one third — 31% — of trans youth between the ages of 13 and 17 reside in states where laws have imposed restrictions on affirming medical care.

“Human rights and public health go hand in hand,” City Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan said in a written statement. “Pride is a time to honor the legacy of the LGBTQ+ community’s fight for justice, and nowhere is this fight clearer than in access to lifesaving and life-affirming health care.”