Minnesota passes conversion therapy ban and bill making state a ‘refuge’ for trans kids

Minnesota lawmakers hold up signs of trans positivity.

Minnesota lawmakers have passed a bill to protect its trans community, including rules that prevent them being forced out of the state to detransition under anti-trans laws passed elsewhere in the US.

It will also welcome trans people from other states who need to access trans healthcare, and sees Minnesota ban conversion therapy for LGBTQ+ people.

Pro-LGBTQ+ lawmakers voted to pass bill HF146 in a close third reading vote of 34-30 on Friday (21 April).

The bill, co-authored by 36 Minnesotan politicians, aims to block out-of-state subpoenas that would see families with trans kids forced back to anti-trans states to prevent them accessing gender-affirming care.

It means that, despite the shocking rise in anti-LGBTQ+ legislation across the US, the state of Minnesota will, for now, remain a place where trans youth are protected from legislative discrimination.

“I wish that other legislatures across this country shared our values,” Senator Clare Oumou Verbeten, one of the bill’s sponsors, said during the hearing.

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“They don’t. But guess what? If you need gender-affirming care – and that is life-saving care, it’s medically necessary care – if you need it, you can come to Minnesota.

“If you’re scared or you’re looking for a new place to build your family, we want you here in Minnesota.”

The bill is now set to reach governor Tim Walz, who promised in a tweet that he will be “proud to sign it into law”.

OutFront Minnesota director Kat Rohn told MPR News that the bill was an “essential” part of the fight for LGBTQ+ and reproductive rights.

“Minnesota has the chance to speak up on these issues, to pass laws that will ensure that adults, that families, that care providers have the protection they need to do the right things and to advance good evidence-based healthcare.”

The Friday hearing was significant for progressive legislation, with the Senate passing the Reproductive Freedom Defence Act which supports abortion rights for state citizens.

Additionally, a bill banning conversion therapy also passed in the Senate. Bill author Scott Dibble hailed Friday as a “historic day” for the state.

“Today is a historic day in Minnesota,” Dibble said. “We are affirming that being LGBTQ+ is normal, healthy, and natural.

“After years of carrying this bill, the Minnesota Senate passed this long overdue legislation to ban the dangerous and discredited practice.

“The medical and scientific community has been clear that individuals deserve to be supported for who they are, and by passing this bill, we show our LGBTQ+ Minnesotans that we will do that.”

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