Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (DFL) signed an executive order today making his state a refuge for trans youth from across the country who require gender-affirming health care.
The order directs state agencies to protect transgender people, their families and medical practitioners from any legal repercussions for their participation in such medical care. It prohibits state agencies from cooperating with other states where gender-affirming care for minors is outlawed or considered child abuse, “except as required by court order.”
“In this state, hate has no home,” Walz said at a signing ceremony today. “In this state, love and acceptance is what we preach.”
The executive action comes after seven states — Alabama, Utah, Arkansas, Florida, Tennessee, Mississippi and South Dakota —banned gender-affirming care for transgender youth. Last year, Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott ordered the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services to investigate parents whose children are receiving gender-affirming health care, under threat of a foster care removal.
“This need is desperate in my community. This is not a hypothetical scenario,” Rep. Leigh Finke (DFL) said in January. Finke, who is Minnesota’s first openly trans lawmaker, added: “There are gender-diverse people in Minnesota right now receiving gender-affirming care. More are fleeing their home states asking where they should turn.”
In September, California signed a similar bill, protecting trans children and their families from being criminalized or coming under scrutiny from child protective services in their home states, simply for accessing health care.
“These kids have often been to hell and back — bullied, harassed, attacked physically — and they’re at a heightened risk for self-harm and suicide,” California Sen. Scott Wiener (D) told The Imprint in September. “And we have these right-wing Republicans who are targeting and demonizing them to score political points.”
Minnesota’s executive order will take effect 15 days after being signed. Finke has introduced a bill that would more permanently root the state’s status as a refuge for trans youth in law.