Todd Gloria
Todd Gloria waves to the crowd during San Diego’s 2017 Gay Pride Parade. Photo by Chris Stone

A bill authored by San Diego lawmaker Todd Gloria that would protect the healthcare rights  of transgender youth in foster care was approved 46 to 22 in the state Assembly and heads to the Senate.

The vote came on Monday, a day before the birthday of San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk, who was the first openly gay elected official in California.

“Harvey Milk reminded us of the importance of hope. He believed all young people deserve a safe and supportive environment to achieve their full potential. It’s in this spirit that I authored AB 2119 — to give California’s foster youth hope that they can grow up, live authentically, and be exactly who they are meant to be,” said Gloria.

The bill would require county health and human services agencies to ensure gender-affirming healthcare and behavioral health services are available to foster youth who request it personally, or if it is requested by the youth’s caregiver, attorney, court-appointed special advocate, or social worker.

In addition, the legislation explicitly prohibits licensed professionals from subjecting or coercing foster youth into any treatment or intervention that seeks to alter their gender identity.

“California has long been a bellwether for inclusivity. With AB 2119, we send a clear message to transgender foster youth that they are not alone, there is a place for them in this state, and we will make certain they can access the care and support they need,” said Gloria.

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.