New York governor designates state a ‘safe haven’ for trans youth with raft of pro-LGBTQ+ legislation

New York governor Kathy Hochul

The governor of New York has signed a raft of legislation to protect the state’s LGBTQ+ community, with explicit safeguarding measures for trans youth.

Kathy Hochul signed five bills into law ahead of the NYC Pride parade in Manhattan on Sunday (25 June).

One of the historic pieces of legislation, S.2475-B/A.6046-B, establishes the state as a “safe haven” for trans young people. It prohibits out-of-state agencies and laws from interfering with gender-affirming care in New York, including not allowing people to be subpoenaed for out-of-state legal proceedings relating to people coming to New York for care.

Meanwhile, S.993-A/A.4903 requires substance-abuse services to provide treatment related to gender identity.

Also included were two bills on gender-neutral language, requiring such terms to be used in state laws and on state websites, and one updating the definition of “sexual orientation” in New York’s human rights law to “heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality or asexuality, whether actual or perceived”.

In a speech ahead of the signing, Hochul lambasted other US states for introducing a wave of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation, calling it wrong and saying that no one in American should be “enduring these injustices”.

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Kathy Hochul speaks during the New York City Pride march on Sunday (25 June). (Theo Wargo/Getty Images)

She noted that New Yorkers are defined by values such as embracing “love and equality, progress and acceptance, unity and celebration”, and highlighted how the state has a history of being at the forefront of pushing LGBTQ+ rights in the US.

New York is presenting the rest of the country with a template on how to treat LGBTQ+ people, she continued.

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“We will always be that beacon to the rest of the nation on how to do it right.”

Later, Hochul took to social media to say how proud she was to sign the “nation-leading” legislation.

Actor Billy Porter, who was one of the co-grand marshals for NYC Pride, similarly called out officials who are working against LGBTQ+ people.

“New York is not going backwards, we’re moving forward. We will defend the progress we’ve made and we are going to build upon that,” the Pose star wrote on Instagram. “If you’re being persecuted by the laws in your state, you can find a safe haven here.”

Ahead of Pride month last year, Hochul announced that driver’s licences, learner permits and non-driver ID cards issued by the Department of Motor Vehicle offices in New York could have the gender-neutral option, “X”, as a gender marker, and, earlier this month, the governor appointed the first openly trans man in US history to serve as a judge.

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