FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – May 9, 2023
OLYMPIA – Transgender youth who are not safe at home and seeking life-saving care can depend on Washington for safe shelter.
Gov. Jay Inslee signed Sen. Marko Liias’ (D-Everett) Senate Bill 5599 into law on Tuesday.
“Every child – including our trans youth – deserves to be safe at home. In a perfect world, that is the case, but unfortunately, that is not the reality,” Liias said. “This legislation affirms our commitment to ensuring children have a safe and stable place to go when they are not welcome at home.”
SB 5599 removes barriers to safe shelter for youth seeking gender-affirming or reproductive health care.
Under current law, licensed shelters must notify parents if a child comes into their care, unless a compelling reason applies. This legislation allows licensed shelters to contact the Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF) in lieu of parents in certain additional instances, like when a young person is seeking reproductive health services or gender-affirming care.
The need for SB 5599 comes as states across the country introduce and pass anti-LGBTQ legislation. According to the ACLU, 452 anti-LGBTQ bills have been introduced across 45 states and 29 bills have passed in 14 different states.
Washington has repeatedly affirmed its commitment to the LGBTQ+ community by passing legislation to ensure access to gender-affirming care, ban conversion therapy, and require schools to adopt policies that protect transgender children from bullying.
“Washington has long been a place where members of the LGBTQ+ community are welcome and embraced,” Liias said. “As other states across the country introduce and pass legislation to take their rights away, we here in Washington are sending a clear signal: we hear you, we see you and we love you.”
SB 5599 has been the subject of widespread misinformation amid a rise in transphobic rhetoric online. The following articles represent an accurate breakdown of the bill: