California lawmakers have passed one of the nation’s most progressive bills on LGBTIQ+ rights, hoping to ensure that trans youth in the foster care system have proper access to medical care.
Introduced by Assembly member Todd Gloria, Assembly Bill 2119 was approved by a vote of 53-22 and will now land on the desk of Governor Jerry Brown.
The bill mandates that the California Department of Social Services develop guidelines allowing trans foster kids to access Medi-Cal services to pursue hormone or other medically necessary treatments.
Gloria, who is openly gay, said the step forward offered a “momentous sign of hope” to members of the trans community.
"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," he said in a statement.
He continued: "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.
"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."
According to Gay Star News, Equality California Executive Director Rick Zbur said: "[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."
The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) said the bill was an important step forward.
The organisation's youth policy director, Shannan Wilber, said in a statement: "Every young person in foster care deserves, and is entitled to, medically necessary health and behavioral health care."
She continued: "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."
If approved by Governor Jerry Brown, the new laws would be introduced by 2020.