FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – April 13, 2023
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OLYMPIA – Legislation to protect transgender and at-risk youth seeking gender-affirming or reproductive care passed the House on Wednesday.
Sen. Marko Liias’ (D-Everett) Senate Bill 5599 affirms that trans youth are protected in Washington state by removing barriers to safe shelter.
This legislation gives meaningful choices to young people who may not have supportive families at home so they do not end up on the street, but instead have shelter options when seeking this life-saving 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.
“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,” Sen. Liias said. “This legislation ensures that our trans youth have safe options and access to secure, stable shelter when they may not be welcome at home.”
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.
The bill now returns to the Senate for further consideration on amendments made by the House.