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Rep. Finke’s “Trans Refuge” legislation receives first committee hearing

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

St. Paul, MN - Today, the House Judiciary and Civil Law Committee held the first hearing of Rep. Leigh Finke’s (DFL - St. Paul) legislation to establish Minnesota as a “Trans Refuge” state (HF 146), preventing out-of-state laws from interfering in the practice of gender-affirming health care. The hearing was also the first of its kind for Minnesota on this issue. 

“Minnesota is a state that prides itself on providing world-class health care, but as extreme anti-trans legislation appears in numerous states, including our neighbors, Minnesota must also become a safe harbor for those seeking gender-affirming care,” said Rep. Finke. “I want to thank all the testifiers: doctors, parents, and advocates, who joined us today to dispel rumors and lift up the real lives at stake with this legislation. Gender-affirming care is vital, life-saving health care, and it deserves to be protected in Minnesota.”

House File 146 would turn Minnesota into a trans refuge state by protecting trans people, their families, and medical practitioners from legal repercussions for traveling to Minnesota to receive gender-affirming care. Trans people of all ages depend on gender-affirming care, which encompasses a wide range of social and medical interventions to affirm someone’s internal gender identity, including puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, permanent hair removal, voice therapy, and surgical interventions.

These care practices are widely supported by major medical associations including the American Medical Association, American Psychological Association, and American Association of Pediatrics. Withholding or delaying gender-affirming care can have dramatic impacts on the mental health of individuals who need it: trans and gender-expansive people who lack access to this care face higher rates of depression, suicide, and substance abuse, while those who receive care have dramatically improved health outcomes.

Following testimony, the bill was laid over for a future hearing. More information on today’s hearing can be found on the House Judiciary and Civil Law Committee’s webpage. Video of today’s hearing will be available on the House Public information YouTube Channel