Minors seeking gender-affirming treatment can shelter without parent’s knowledge
May 9, 2023, 4:05 PM | Updated: 6:16 pm
(Photo credit should read Marco Ravagli/Future Publishing via Getty Images)
Gov. Jay Inslee signed a bill into law Tuesday where minors seeking gender-affirming care in Washington will be protected from the intervention of estranged parents.
Under the new law, Senate Bill 5599, children can stay at licensed youth shelters without their parent’s knowledge while seeking medical treatments like gender-transitioning services and medications. The previous law required licensed shelters and host homes to notify parents within 72 hours when a minor came into its care.
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“We know that young people experiencing homelessness are exposed to dangerous and harmful outcomes. That is why we must take every step we can to ensure their safety,” Rep Marko Liias said in a prepared statement. “This legislation ensures that our trans youth have safe options and access to secure, stable shelter when they may not be welcome at home.”
According to ACLU, 452 anti-LGBTQ+ bills have been introduced across 45 states, with 29 passing in 14 states — an argument used by supporters of the bill who want to counter legislation that could be potentially harmful to the LGBTQ+ community.
The House’s version of the bill added one significant adjustment, requiring shelters and hosts to report a minor’s intentions to seek gender-affirming care to the Washington Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF). The department would then decide if the parents should be notified on a case-by-case basis.
The bill passed on a 57-39 vote as Republican legislators unanimously voted against the bill.
“We’re saying that the state of Washington, under this underlying policy, can take this child and not contact the parents with no signs of abuse, with no pending case of abuse, and the foster system not involved, I’m a little confused Mr. Speaker,” Rep. Jacquelin Maycumber (R-7) said in the Legislature.
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“Among its many flaws, the bill assumes families that don’t ‘affirm’ a child’s short-term desires are being abusive. Wrong! Sometimes love requires parents to not affirm their child’s whims. Loving parents guide their children as they grow. Sometimes that means saying ‘no,’ ” Rep. Jim Walsh (R-19) added in agreement in a press release. “During floor debate, we heard the tired old cliche that ‘it takes a village to raise a child.’ That’s false. That notion has resulted in exploding crime rates, homelessness, and rising teen suicide rates in Washington. Enough. Parents are the primary stakeholders in their children’s upbringing―not the government.”
A provision stating the state would pay for gender-affirming care to a minor in certain circumstances was removed from the bill.
Repeal efforts are already underway to nullify the law, with some representatives wanting to turn this into a referendum for the November election. The bill is set to begin late July, unless enough valid signatures (approximately 162,000) are gathered to put it on hold until a statewide vote.