Senator Scott Wiener’s (D-San Francisco) Senate Bill 923, the TGI Inclusive Care Act passed the Senate on Thursday afternoon by a vote of 31-8. The bill is now on its way to the Governor’s desk!
The bill employs multiple strategies to improve access to affirming care for TGI Californians. Specifically, SB 923 would require:
· That physician Continuing Medical Education (CME) include evidence-based culturally competent curriculum to help physicians provide inclusive care for TGI people
· That the Health and Human Services Agency issue enforceable quality standards for treating TGI patients and recommend curriculum working collaboratively with Departments and TGI-serving organizations
· That health insurance companies provide TGI cultural competency training for their staff and delegated entities who are in direct contact with patients
· That health insurance companies, in their network directories, include a list of in-network providers who offer gender-affirming services, so that TGI people know where to go for specialized care
· That the relevant oversight agencies track and monitor complaints relating to TGI-inclusive care and publicly post findings in their annual reports or website
During a time when states like Texas and Florida are actively passing anti-Trans bills, California is becoming the leader in protecting the rights for transgender, gender diverse, and intersex (TGI) people across the country. Now, Governor Newsom has the power to make inclusive health care for TGI people throughout the state a reality.
“When it comes time for the Governor to sign this bill into law, I want him to know that it’s vital for trans and non-binary people to have gender-affirming health care,” stated Addison Rose Vincent, Founder and CEO of Break the Binary. “A lot of us have to navigate health care settings with assumptions being made, stigma, shame, and other violence sometimes in those spaces. We deserve to access health care that is affirming, sensitive, and empowering.”
Many TGI Californians encounter discrimination and difficulty accessing the health care they need. TGI Californians report discrimination including being refused treatment, verbally harassed, physically or sexually assaulted, or having to teach the provider about transgender people in order to receive appropriate care.
A survey of primary care providers found that over 30% did not feel that they were capable of providing transgender care and a small but concerning number would not be willing to care for transgender patients in need. Nearly 15% of providers are unwilling to provide routine care, with that number increasing for specific services. In 2019, 44% of TGI people who were surveyed in the #Out4MentalHealth Community survey reported traveling farther than 30 minutes to see a primary care provider.
“The California Legislature has reconfirmed its longstanding commitment to achieving health equity for transgender, gender diverse and intersex (TGI) Californians,” said Equality California Executive Director Tony Hoang. “Gender-affirming care is essential and life-saving. While attacks on bodily autonomy take hold in other states across the country, California will stand firm in making access to this care more inclusive, accessible and affirming. We are grateful to our cosponsors and to Senator Wiener for their vision and leadership in advancing SB 923.”
Every person deserves to receive quality and compassionate health care from understanding and respectful healthcare providers. SB 923 ensures that California prioritizes the delivery of inclusive healthcare by creating first-in-the-nation quality standards for TGI patients and ensures curriculum is relevant to TGI patients’ health needs. Co-sponsors of the bill are thrilled to hear that SB 923 is finally at the Governor’s desk and have high hopes that this bill will create change within the TGI community.
Trans Community Project Director, Paulina Angel, stated, “I am so happy for the tremendous support that we’ve gotten for SB923, this is truly a big step and victory for the TGI community and we look forward to the day Governor Newsom signs it into law.”
“Trans Family Support Services is thrilled to see this bill move to the governors for a signature. TGI community members of all ages deserve the respect and dignity that will be provided by these changes,” stated Kathie Moehlig, Executive Director of Trans Family Support Services.
All TGI Californians should be able to access comprehensive health care that is inclusive of their needs. With California paving the way, hopefully, there will soon be similar legislation passed in states across the country.
SB 923 is co-sponsored by Break The Binary LLC, California LGBTQ Health and Human Services Network, California TRANScends, Equality California, Gender Justice LA, National Health Law Program, Orange County TransLatinas, Queer Works, Rainbow Pride Youth Alliance, San Francisco Office of Transgender Initiatives, The TransPower Project, TransCanWork, Trans Community Project, Trans Family Support Services, Transgender Health and Wellness Center, Tranz of Anarchii INC, Unique Woman’s Coalition (UWC), Unity Hope, and Western Center on Law & Poverty.