California governor Jerry Brown signs bill allowing trans foster youth to access hormone therapy

Governor of California Jerry Brown has signed a bill into law which allows transgender youth in foster care access to medical services including hormone therapy, surgery and counselling.

The bill, introduced by Democrat Todd Gloria, allows transgender and gender nonconforming youths to access Medi-Cal services, the state’s health insurance programme for low-income people and those in foster care.

Gloria said the law would “empower transgender foster youth to live authentically and simply be themselves.”

“The passage of AB 2119 today is a momentous sign of hope for transgender foster youth living in the system growing up feeling neglected, forgotten, or out of place,” he said in a statement after the bill’s passage in the state senate last month.

Medi-Cal recipients already have access to hormone and surgical treatments if they are deemed medically necessary, but the law now states clearly that “gender affirming” care as a right for foster youth.

Research published earlier this year found there are four times more transgender teenagers in the US than previously thought.

California governor Jerry Brown (Getty Images)

Nearly three percent of all 13 to 17-year-olds are trans or gender nonconforming, according to the results.

The study was an analysis of a 2016 survey of nearly 81,000 teens in Minnesota and found that almost 2,200 identified as trans, which includes terms such as non-binary, gender nonconforming and genderfluid.

That works out at 2.7 percent of teens, around four times more than the 0.7 percent figure which a UCLA study found last year.

A study published this week highlighted the prevalence of poor mental health among trans youth.

Trans teenagers are at risk of poor mental health (Pexels)

More than half (51 percent) of trans male teenagers have attempted suicide in the past year, according to research by the University of Arizona.

The study also found that more than four in 10 (42 percent) of non-binary adolescents and 30 percent of trans female teens had attempted suicide.

The survey, carried out between 2012 and 2015, included data from 202 transgender teenagers, 70 percent of which were trans male adolescents.