How this part of New York became a safe haven for trans people

New York City has always been seen as a safe haven for the LGBTQ+ community, but it’s not the only spot within the “Empire State” to welcome queer and transgender folks. 

The “Big Apple” is one of the numerous cities that the LGBTQ+ community flocks to. The bright lights have become a beacon for queer and trans people to steer towards the city and call it home.

While those lights draw in the LGBTQ+ community like a moth to a flame, the prices within New York City are hard to navigate. And when statistics show that queer and trans people still experience discrimination within the workplace and are even hindered from obtaining employment, paying for NYC becomes a huge challenge. 

Thankfully, NYC’s inclusiveness, especially for trans people, has expanded beyond the five boroughs and ventured into another part of the state: Upstate New York. 

On Monday, The Guardian reported that this region of New York state has quickly become a safe haven for transgender people. Cities like Albany, Syracuse, and Rochester all earned perfect scores on the Human Rights Campaign’s municipal equality index and Buffalo scored a 97, demonstrating their inclusiveness.

That inclusiveness is mostly felt through trans inclusive healthcare, with the state’s governor, Kathy Hochul, signing a “safe haven” law in June that protected trans youth seeking gender-affirming healthcare. Rochester, for example, boasts a robust network of gender-affirming healthcare providers, one of them being Trillium Health

Trillium Health and other gender-affirming healthcare providers continue to note an increase in trans folks utilizing their services. With an uptick in anti-LGBTQ+ legislation, more trans folks are leaving their home states, such as Florida, Texas, and Missouri to seek support elsewhere. 

To date, 508 anti-LGBTQ+ bills exist within the U.S., with 137 tied to healthcare restrictions. Another 233 bills restrict student and educator rights, another motive for trans students and their families to flock to Upstate New York.

While, the country continues to reckon with anti-LGBTQ+ sentiment sweeping the nation, places like Upstate New York become a bright spot in a dark time. 

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