New York City Just Became a Hard Sanctuary City for Trans Americans

New York City mayor Eric Adams has issued an executive order protecting access to gender-affirming care. While 20 states have passed laws restricting (and in some cases criminalizing) the provision of gender-affirming care for minors, NYC is joining at least 12 other US states and districts in enacting shield laws for transgender and nonbinary citizens.

In addition to reinforcing legal access to care, Adam’s Executive Order 32 establishes New York as a sanctuary city. It states that no city resources will be used in cooperation with out-of-state anti-trans investigations.

While other US states have enacted similar protections, journalist and activist Erin Reed points out that Adam’s executive order goes further than many. It blocks the city from cooperating with out-of-state investigations, subpoenas or extradition requests. Given that some anti-trans laws have included criminal penalties, such as classifying trans-affirming parents as child abusers, New York City can truly act as a refuge for transgender care providers, patients and their families.

“As states across the nation continue their onslaught of attacks on our LGBTQ+ neighbors, New York City is doing what we have always done — standing up for justice and against discrimination,” said Mayor Adams in a press release. “This executive order reaffirms the fact that hate has no place in our city and that all people deserve the right to gender-affirming care and protection against prosecution for being who they are. To LGBTQ+ people across the nation feeling hurt, isolated, or threatened, we have a clear message for you: New York City has and will always be a welcoming home for you.”

In addition to the 20 states that have restricted access to gender-affirming care for minors, 34 have introduced legislation targeting patients 18 or older. The Mayor’s office goes on to cite guidance from major medical organizations—including American Medical Association, the American Academy of Family Physicians, and the American Academy of Pediatrics—which recognize the medical necessity of gender-affirming care.

“Across the country, the rights of transgender individuals are under attack from a small and cynical group who are stoking fear and hatred to enact punishing legislation,” added City Hall Chief Counsel Brendan McGuire. “Today’s executive order signed by Mayor Adams sends a powerful message that New York City will remain a safe haven for the entire LGBTQ+ community, and particularly for transgender individuals seeking to live their best and safest lives.”

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