Washington Governor Signs Bill Protecting Transgender Kids from Estranged Parents

Washington Governor Jay Inslee has signed a bill into law that will protect minors who are receiving gender-affirming care from estranged parents attempting to intervene. The new law will enable host homes to shelter young people without needing to contact their parents, allowing them to reach out instead to Washington’s Department of Children, Youth, and Families. Host homes also won’t be required to inform estranged parents about medical interventions the youth is seeking, such as gender-affirming care, so parents can’t intervene.

Republican opponents of the bill said it violates parents’ rights, but supporters of the law say that’s not the case. The legislation requires the state’s child protective services to make a “good faith attempt” to let parents know when they are contacted and to offer the family services to “resolve the conflict and accomplish a reunification of the family.” The law joins other Democratic-controlled states that have passed legislation protecting access to gender-affirming care, while Republican-controlled states have passed legislation looking to ban or restrict such medical care.

Major medical associations support access to gender-affirming care treatment for transgender people, including trans youth. State Senator Marko Liias, the lead sponsor for the bill, said, “The law is going to have a positive impact for youth around the state who need housing and stability at a really difficult moment.”