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WA Bill Supports Trans Youth as Attacks Across US Increase

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Monday, April 17, 2023   

As legislation across the country targets transgender people, Washington state lawmakers are moving in the opposite direction.

The Legislature recently passed Senate Bill 5599, which is designed to help transgender youth from becoming homeless. It also supports people in need of abortion care.

State Sen. Marko Liias - D-Everett - sponsored the bill.

"Our trans youth who are seeking gender affirming care or any youth that's seeking reproductive health services, that it's not safe for them to be at home," said Liias, "can stay in a licensed shelter or in a host home for a longer period of time with supervision by our Department of Children, Youth and Families to make sure that they're safe."

Under the current law, young people can only stay in a shelter for three days without parental permission.

Twenty-eight percent of LGBTQ youth report experiencing homelessness or housing instability at some point in their lives, according to a 2021 Trevor Project survey.

The legislation also provides support for transgender youth who come from out of state.

Liias said Washington state is making itself a welcoming place as other states move to pass harmful legislation, such as banning gender-affirming care for young people.

"Especially at the national level where the headlines just can be so hopeless," said Liias, "there are places in this country that care about our trans community and are doing what we can to be supportive and ensure that they can be as successful as possible."

The legislation passed through the House last week. Washington's legislative session is scheduled to adjourn over the weekend.




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House Bill passed with an overwhelming vote of 94-6, with three abstentions. Its companion, Senate Bill 159, passed unanimously with a vote of 34-0. (Chad Robertson/Adobe Stock)

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