On National Coming Out Day, Senator Hoylman, NEW Pride Agenda, and Advocates Rally to Make New York a Safe Haven for Transgender Youth

Brad Hoylman-Sigal

October 11, 2022

NEW YORK — Today, on National Coming Out Day, State Senator Brad Hoylman (D, WFP-Manhattan), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and the NEW Pride Agenda, along with a coalition of  elected officials, medical professionals, legal experts and LGBTQ+ and transgender advocates, rallied at the NYC LGBTQ Center for Senator Hoylman’s and Assemblymember Harry Bronson’s bill (S.8842/A.10138) to make New York a safe haven for transgender youth and their families. 

The bill is in response to legislative efforts in statehouses across the country to eliminate access to gender affirming care and criminalize guardians and physicians and medical personnel who help transgender kids receive gender-affirming care. Recent estimates show that 58,200 transgender youth are at risk of losing access to crucial care because of these initiatives.

State Senator Brad Hoylman said: “A war is being waged against transgender kids in nearly half the states of this country. In stark contrast, New York welcomes transgender youth and their families from other states with open arms. By doing so, Albany also must take action to provide these kids, their families, and their doctors with the assurance that they can safely receive the gender-affirming health care they’re seeking without fear of civil or criminal liability. With the passage of our Transgender Safe Haven legislation, New York will remain the bright beacon it is for civil rights and liberties across the nation, and indeed, the world.”

Elisa Crespo and Shéár Avory, Executive Director and NYC Community Organizer of NEW Pride Agenda, said: “On this National Coming Out Day we are sending a strong message to transgender youth and their families across the country - New York loves and accepts you for who you are. We demand an end to the politicization of trans youth and our bodies. Gender Affirming care is life saving medically necessary treatment as recommended by nearly every major medical association. NEW Pride Agenda is proud to stand with Senator Hoylman and Assemblyman Bronson to advance this safe haven bill on this important day.”

Assemblymember Harry Bronson said: “There is a hate filled movement being carried out in some state houses throughout this country to criminalize the core of a person’s identity. New York will not be complicit in this activity. This legislation meets the moment and provides critical protections to those families fleeing states that do not recognize the inherent dignity and respect Trans children rightly deserve. To those who are without a safe home right now, come to New York State. We’re proud of our LGBTQ+ communities and you will always be safe here.”

The bill safeguards transgender youths and their families by 1) ensuring that kids will not be separated from their parents for aiding in their access to gender-affirming care, 2) prohibiting law enforcement from cooperating with other states' investigations regarding legal gender-affirming care, 3) protecting the health information of people who come to New York to receive gender-affirming care, and 4) protecting physicians who provide gender-affirming care in New York. 

Research shows that access to gender-affirming care for transgender young people reduces risk of depression, psychological distress, and suicidal ideation. Transgender young people already face extreme barriers when it comes to getting proper care: from stigma, to discrimination, systemic hurdles, and lack of insurance coverage for care. Criminalizing guardians and physicians who help these young people receive this critical care makes the process even harder. 

While other states regressively criminalize and roll back access to gender-affirming care, New York must pass progressive policies that protect trans kids and expand access to gender-affirming care. This bill will help New York combat state policies that attempt to ban gender-affirming care and punish kids, their families, and their providers beyond their borders.

Jenna Lauter, Equal Justice Works Fellow at NYCLU, said: “With gender-affirming care under vicious attack across the U.S., progressive states like New York must do what we can to protect access for those who can no longer get the care they need in their home state. Senator Hoylman’s legislation would do exactly that by ensuring New York State does and will not participate in other state’s attempts to stigmatize and punish health care providers, patients, or those who support them. Under this bill, if you seek or provide gender affirming care here in New York – regardless of where you come from – New York will do everything in its power to shield you from the reach of other states. For decades, New York has been a beacon for people all over the country seeking gender-affirming care, and passing Senator Hoylman’s legislation will continue our state’s important role as a refuge for those in need of this life-saving medical care.”

Sarah Kate Ellis, President & CEO of GLAAD, said: "Transgender youth are under attack across the country, with extremist politicians baselessly restricting access to basic healthcare and some states even punishing healthcare providers who following best practices, evidence-based medical care supported by every major medical association. Sen. Hoylman's bill will safeguard trans youth, their families, and their doctors in New York, critically providing a safe haven for families and medical professionals who need it the most."

Dr. Andrew Goodman, Site Medical Director for Callen-Lorde Community Health Center’s Chelsea clinic, said: “Decades of research show that access to gender-affirming care helps transgender people, including transgender youth, live whole, healthy lives. As a medical provider in New York, I can say without hesitation that this legislation will protect and fortify family support and all the necessary systems around any young person seeking gender affirming care in New York, and it will be nothing short of life saving for many.”

Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine said: "Gender-affirming care is health care, and New York stands with the trans community in supporting and protecting this right. We will never cooperate with the right-wing agenda to legislate transness out of existence. With an increasing number of states criminalizing trans health care, this bill is critical to protecting care in New York and saving trans lives."

Derek Gaskill and Nicholas Tamborra, Co-Presidents of Lambda Independent Democrats of Brooklyn, said: “While the dignity and rights of transgender young people and their families are under attack nationwide, New York needs to guarantee that they won't be charged with the crime of being themselves here. LID proudly supports S.8842 as it  will provide critical support to families fleeing states that  seek to outlaw gender-affirming care and penalize children, their families, and service providers beyond their jurisdiction.”

Senator Jabari Brisport said: "Thank you to my colleague, Senator Hoylman, for introducing this important bill. With anti-trans legislation reaching new and more deadly extremes in other states, it’s all the more urgent that we ensure New York can be a place of respect, of safe harbor, and of human rights for transgender people.  Let New York continue to be a beacon of hope for queer people across the country."

Kiara St. James, Founder and Executive Director of New York Transgender Advocacy Group, said: “New York City continues to be a beacon of hope to the marginalized across this nation, it is in our DNA to stand-up to the narrow-minded who would love to strip the vast majority of us of our rights.”

Council Member Erik Bottcher said: “As a survivor of youth suicide, it breaks my heart to see young LGBTQ+ folks being the target of a far right culture war. Across the country, we’re seeing legislation from Republican extremists that are threatening the rights and freedoms of everyone who are not straight white men. I’m grateful that State Senator Brad Hoylman is taking steps to make New York State safe for everyone, especially the most vulnerable."