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Minnesota becomes trans refuge

Minnesota has officially become a “Trans refuge” after Minnesota Governor Tim Walz signed three bills Thursday that would protect gender-affirming healthcare and protections for trans youth and their families.

Walz contrasted Minnesota’s actions against the actions of Republican-led states, which have created laws that would limit trans people from receiving hormone medications and prevent students from requesting to use their preferred pronouns in school without notifying their parents.

“I don’t know how hard this concept is to understand, when someone else is given basic rights, others don’t lose theirs,” Walz said. “We’re not cutting a pie here, we’re giving basic rights to every Minnesotan. Rights to make the decisions about their own body that they feel is best for them.”

The bills are a piece of a much larger goal set by Walz earlier in the legislative session, which aims to create a litany of laws and executive orders that protect the rights of trans people to receive gender-affirming care. In March, Walz signed an executive order that would protect people who traveled to Minnesota to receive such care. Supporters and legislators say the new legislation provides more permanent protections.

The legislation runs counter to South Dakota’s trans laws, which bans all forms of hormonal therapy, puberty blockers or sex-change operations for transgender people under 18, or North Dakota’s laws that made performing gender-affirming surgery on minors a felony. Rep. Leigh Finke (DFL), the author of the bill, said during the House of Representatives debate that people who lack these provisions experience higher rates of depression and suicide.

The other two bills bans conversion therapy, a controversial practice that opponents say cause high levels of anxiety and depression, and prevents legal or professional action to be taken against an individual for assisting a person getting an abortion or other reproductive health assistance.

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