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'Turn up the love:' San Francisco becomes a sanctuary city for transgender people

San Francisco transgender sanctuary city
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"Our city has been and will continue to be a sanctuary and a beacon for our transgender and gender non-conforming siblings,” Supervisor Rafael Mandelman said.

It's unanimous — San Francisco is now a sanctuary city for transgender people seeking health care.

The Board of Supervisors voted on the measure Tuesday, returning a unanimous decision in favor of shielding transgender, nonbinary, gender non-conforming, and Two-Spirit people who come to the city to receive gender-affirming care from areas where the care is restricted. It is one of the first major cities to enact such protections.

“A majority of these laws specifically target transgender people, including youth,” Supervisor Rafael Mandelman told The San Francisco Chronicle. “As other cities and states turn up the hate, places like San Francisco need to turn up the love.”

California became a sanctuary state for gender-affirming care following Gov. Gavin Newsom's signing of SB 107 in 2022. The law prohibits states that have banned the life-saving treatment from punishing those who travel to California to receive it by preventing the release of information or the arrest and extradition of someone based on another state's court orders.

While California was already a sanctuary state, San Francisco's law will specifically ensure the city's local resources are not used to aid law enforcement from other jurisdictions in their attempts to prosecute the families of minors receiving gender-affirming care, as well as their healthcare providers.

Only 15 states and Washington, D.C. have shield laws protecting gender-affirming care for minors, compared to the 24 states that have banned the treatment, according to the Movement Advancement Project. Six states — Alabama, Florida, Idaho, North Dakota, Oklahoma, and South Carolina — make it a felony for practitioners to provide the care to youth.

The American Medical Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, the World Medical Association, and the World Health Organization all agree that gender-affirming care is evidence-based and medically necessary not just for adults but minors as well.

“With this resolution, we are reaffirming that our city has been and will continue to be a sanctuary and a beacon for our transgender and gender non-conforming siblings,” Mandelman said.

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Ryan Adamczeski

Ryan is a reporter at The Advocate, and a graduate of New York University Tisch's Department of Dramatic Writing, with a focus in television writing and comedy. She first became a published author at the age of 15 with her YA novel "Someone Else's Stars," and is now a member of GALECA, the LGBTQ+ society of entertainment critics. In her free time, Ryan likes watching New York Rangers hockey, listening to the Beach Boys, and practicing witchcraft.
Ryan is a reporter at The Advocate, and a graduate of New York University Tisch's Department of Dramatic Writing, with a focus in television writing and comedy. She first became a published author at the age of 15 with her YA novel "Someone Else's Stars," and is now a member of GALECA, the LGBTQ+ society of entertainment critics. In her free time, Ryan likes watching New York Rangers hockey, listening to the Beach Boys, and practicing witchcraft.