NM Touts Prominent Advances in LGBTQ Rights During 'Pride Month'
Thursday, June 22, 2023
New laws offering greater protections for New Mexico's LGBTQ+ community are taking effect in the coming days as diversity is celebrated during June's Pride Month.
A new state law establishes a broader slate of protections for LGBTQ+ people by defining gender and sex, and expanding existing definitions of sexual orientation and gender identity.
Marshall Martinez, executive director of Equality New Mexico, cited polling which found 71% of residents say they have an LGBTQ+ family member, co-worker, friend or neighbor.
"What we know is that when people have that close, personal relationship with a member of the LGBTQ community, they tend to lead with love, acceptance and affirmation," Martinez explained.
Martinez noted more than a dozen New Mexico communities have held Pride events, including in such rural areas as Gallup and Farmington. In Washington, D.C., Wednesday, Democrats in both chambers of Congress reintroduced the Equality Act, which would prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation. A previous bill failed to garner bipartisan support.
Martinez pointed out New Mexico is the first state this year to enact a law protecting transgender health care practices, and prohibits state government entities from aiding other states in prosecuting anyone who seeks gender-affirming care.
"It also means that, for folks who are living in those states where the legislature has passed a ban on gender-affirming health care, they can come to New Mexico to get that health care," Martinez emphasized. "They are legally protected while they are here."
Since 2022, Arizona, Oklahoma, Texas and Utah -- all neighboring states to New Mexico -- have passed laws banning gender-affirming care for transgender youth.
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