Minnesota Becomes a Trans Refuge State
The lives of trans and gender expansive people this nation are under attack, There is a full-scale movement in this nation against trans, nonbinary, two-spirit and gender expansive adults and children that seeks to make that part of the LGBTQ+ community disappear. According to the Human Rights Campaign, more than 150 bills targeting trans rights have been introduced in other states and at least 29 states have proposed bans on gender-affirming care for minors.
Recent efforts in Oklahoma to prohibit gender affirming medical care for trans children and pass other anti-trans legislation have led to heated demonstrations.
The Arkansas Senate on Tuesday gave initial approval to criminalizing transgender people who use restrooms that match their gender identity.
Tennessee’s governor signed legislation last week that bans drag shows from taking place in public or in front of children.
In Texas, the governor ordered the state to investigate families for child abuse if their children are receiving gender-affirming care.
Florida recently introduced a bill that would allow courts to “vacate, stay, or modify” child custody determinations if a child seeks gender-affirming care, allowing a disapproving parent to take custody away from a child’s custodial parent.
In Iowa, a bill that would ban gender-affirming medical care for transgender children has passed the Legislature and awaits Gov. Kim Reynolds' signature.
And on and on....
As states across the country are trying to erase the legal existence of people who are trans and to restrict the expression of those who are nonbinary, gender-fluid or who perform in drag, Minnesota governor Tim Walz signed an executive order on March 8, 2023 protecting the rights of LGBTQ people in Minnesota to receive gender affirming health care. When he signed it, he slammed the tide of other states rolling back transgender rights stating, “We want every Minnesotan to grow up feeling safe, valued, protected, celebrated, and free to exist as their authentic versions of themselves. Protecting and supporting access to gender affirming health care is essential to being a welcoming and supportive state.”
Minnesota also has pending legislation in 2023 seeking to make Minnesota a “trans refuge state” by protecting trans people, families and care providers from a range of legal repercussions for traveling to Minnesota for gender affirming care, which includes a wide range of social and medical interventions and banning so-called conversion therapy for LGBTQ children and vulnerable adults.
Other facts about Minnesota:
Minnesota became the first U.S. state to outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in 1993, protecting LGBT people from discrimination in the fields of employment, housing, and public accommodations.
In 2013, the state legalized same-sex marriage.This followed a 2012 ballot measure in which voters rejected constitutionally banning same-sex marriage.
In July 2021, Minnesota banned conversion therapy state-wide.
Since October 2018, Minnesota has allowed an "X" sex descriptor on driver's licences and state ID cards.
The state's Medicaid policy covers care related to transgender people. Minnesota law prohibits health insurance providers from excluding coverage for transgender-specific care or discriminating against transgender patients.
The LGBT think tank Movement Advancement Project ranks Minnesota first, tied to Illinois, in the Midwestern United States in terms of LGBT rights legislation, noting that the state provides protection from discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations, and credit, has inclusive health care policies particularly relating to transgender people, and permits transgender people to correct the gender marker on their identity documents by self-identification.
Minnesota was always at the forefront of the early LGBT rights movement in the United States. In 1969, shortly before the Stonewall riots, an LGBT student group called FREE (Fight Repression of Erotic Expression) by founded by several students at the University of Minnesota. The group was the second of its kind in the United States, following the Student Homophile League at Columbia University in 1967.
Today, the Twin Cities metro area has a vibrant LGBT culture, scene, and nightlife, with annual pride events, community centers, bars, clubs, cafés, and other venues. In 2015, an estimated 400,000 people attended the Twin Cities Pride parade, named the Ashley Rukes GLBT Pride Parade. The first gay march in Minnesota took place in 1972 in downtown Minneapolis, on the third anniversary of the Stonewall riots. It was attended by around 50 people.
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