Los Angeles LGBT Center Lauds State Legislation That Would Enable LGBTQ Foster Youth to Access Gender-Affirming Care - Los Angeles LGBT Center

Los Angeles LGBT Center Lauds State Legislation That Would Enable LGBTQ Foster Youth to Access Gender-Affirming Care

February 16, 2018
Contact: Gil Diaz
323-993-7604

The Los Angeles LGBT Center and a coalition of organizations, including Equality California, Lambda Legal, American Civil Liberties Union of California, and the National Center for Lesbian Rights, praises the introduction of a statewide legislation—made recently by Assemblymember Todd Gloria (D-San Diego)—that would establish the rights of foster youth in California to access gender-affirming health care and behavioral health services.

Under the proposed bill, “gender affirming health care and behavioral health services” is defined as “health care or behavioral health services that respect the gender identity of the patient as experienced and defined by the patient.” This includes gender transition, which is aligning one’s gender presentation closer to one’s gender identity.

“LGBTQ foster youth who come through our doors every day tell us about the countless hurdles and biases they have to overcome in order to be recognized simply for who they are,” said Joey Hernández, Los Angeles LGBT Center’s policy and mobilization manager. “Young people should not have to wait years—or have to age out of the foster care system—to receive care that is medically necessary. Transgender and gender nonconforming young people have the right to live their authentic lives.”

According to the Williams Institute study conducted in partnership with the Center’s RISE program, LGBTQ youth are significantly overrepresented in the foster care system. Approximately 19 percent of foster youth in Los Angeles County are LGBTQ, which is about 1.5 to 2 times their numbers in the general population. Of this number, 11 percent identify as gender nonconforming and 5 percent as transgender. Nearly 13 percent report being treated poorly while in the foster care system, compared to less than 6 percent of non-LGBTQ foster youth.

“We know that transgender and gender nonconforming youth are at much higher risk for developing serious negative health conditions. This is especially true for those youth in our foster care system,” said Assemblymember Todd Gloria. “AB 2119 affirms the right of foster youth to be able to access health services reflective of their gender identity—meaning, these children can grow up safe and healthy, and be exactly who they are meant to be.”

The full text of AB 2119 can be accessed here. The bill will now be referred to the appropriate Assembly committees for consideration.

About the Los Angeles LGBT Center

Since 1969 the Los Angeles LGBT Center has cared for, championed and celebrated LGBT individuals and families in Los Angeles and beyond. Today the Center's nearly 700 employees provide services for more LGBT people than any other organization in the world, offering programs, services and global advocacy that span four broad categories: Health, Social Services and Housing, Culture and Education, Leadership and Advocacy. We are an unstoppable force in the fight against bigotry and the struggle to build a better world; a world in which LGBT people can be healthy, equal and complete members of society. Learn more at lalgbtcenter.org.

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