Metro Weekly

New York’s Mayor Signs Order Protecting Gender-Affirming Care

Mayor Eric Adams tells transgender community: “New York City has and will always be a welcoming home for you.”

New York City Hall – Photo: @NYCMayor, via Twitter

New York City Mayor Eric Adams has issued an executive order establishing New York City as a safe haven for transgender people seeking gender-affirming health care.

Known as Executive Order 32, the order bars city officials from complying with out-of-state requests to detain individuals who have violated other states’ laws banning gender-affirming care for specific populations, so long as the treatments would be legal in New York State.

The order also prohibits city officials from cooperating with out-of-state investigations into individuals who have received or provided gender-affirming treatments banned elsewhere, so long as the procedure or treatments would be legal in New York.

Gender-affirming care, which encompasses a range of healthcare services designed to treat gender dysphoria, including mental health counseling, puberty blockers, hormones, and surgical interventions, is recognized as valid by most mainstream medical and mental health organizations.

But opponents of gender-affirming care often argue that the procedures or treatments involved are experimental and should not be undertaken without considering the longstanding side effects of such care. 

As part of a larger conservative backlash against transgender rights, bans on gender-affirming care have been passed in 20 other states — primarily those in which Republicans control all levers of government.

Some of those laws seek to enlist out-of-state law enforcement authorities by having them arrest and detain doctors or parents who have fled states after assisting transgender youth in accessing gender-affirming treatments so that they may be prosecuted.

In response to those bans, more liberal-leaning states and cities have adopted “shield” laws or executive orders, like the one signed by Adams, that are intended to blunt the impact of the restrictive laws and ensure that people for whom gender-affirming treatments have been deemed “medically necessary” can continue to receive such care.

One of those jurisdictions is Maryland, where Democratic Gov. Wes Moore recently signed a nearly identical executive order establishing Maryland as a sanctuary for trans individuals seeking gender-affirming care.

St. Louis City Mayor Tishaura Jones recently signed a similar, but slightly different order directing city agencies to assist transgender people in seeking information about where and how to access gender-affirming care legally, including by traveling out-of-state, in a move meant to counteract Missouri’s ban on gender-affirming care

“As states across the nation continue their onslaught of attacks on our LGBTQ+ neighbors, New York City is doing what we have always done — standing up for justice and against discrimination,” Adams said in a statement.

“This executive order reaffirms the fact that hate has no place in our city and that all people deserve the right to gender-affirming care and protection against prosecution for being who they are. To LGBTQ+ people across the nation feeling hurt, isolated, or threatened, we have a clear message for you: New York City has and will always be a welcoming home for you.”

Lawmakers in New York State’s Democratic-led legislature recently passed a measure to establish the state as a sanctuary for people seeking gender-affirming care who have fled from states with laws blocking such practices.

The bill now heads to Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul, who is expected to sign it into law.

“Right-wing lawmakers across the country are waging a war against the LGBTQ community, and their number one target is trans kids,” State Sen. Brad Hoylman-Sigal (D-Manhattan), the sponsor of the statewide legislation, said in a statement praising the city’s actions. “New York City reaffirms its role as a beacon for the LGBTQ community.”

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