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Washington Governor Signs Bill Protecting Transgender Kids from Estranged Parents

Washington Governor Signs Bill Protecting Transgender Kids from Estranged Parents

Jay Inslee

The law involves children who are housed at host homes.


Washington’s Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee signed a bill into law Tuesday that protects minors who are receiving gender-affirming care from estranged parents attempting to intervene.

The new law would allow host homes — private, volunteer homes that temporarily house young people — to shelter youth without needing to contact the youth's parents. Instead, the homes could reach out to Washington's Department of Children, Youth, and Families. It also wouldn’t require those homes to inform estranged parents about medical interventions the youth is seeking, such as gender-affirming care.

“With this bill, Washington leads the way by taking a more compassionate, developmentally appropriate, and reasoned approach to support these youth as they access gender-affirming treatment and reproductive health care services,” Inslee said before he signed the measure, the Associated Press reports.

The state joins other Democratic-controlled ones that have passed legislation protecting access to gender-affirming care. In Republican states, legislatures have passed legislation looking to ban or restrict such medical care.

Major medical associations support access to gender-affirming care treatment for transgender people, including trans youth.

Republican opponents to the bill said it violates parents’ rights.

“The only thing [the bill] would do is cause harm by driving a wedge between vulnerable kids and their parents, at a time when a teen lacks the perception and judgment to make critical life-altering decisions,” State Senate Republican Leader John Braun said, according to local TV station KPTV.

The AP notes that opponents of the bill have “twisted the content of the measure to suggest it will see the state ripping children from their homes.”

However, supporters of the law say that’s not the case. The legislation requires the state’s child protective services to make a “good faith attempt” to let parents know when they are contacted and to offer the family services to “resolve the conflict and accomplish a reunification of the family,” the legislation states.

State Sen. Marko Liias, a Democrat who was the lead sponsor for the bill, said, “The law is going to have a positive impact for youth around the state who need housing and stability at a really difficult moment.”

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