Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz signed an executive order protecting and supporting access to gender-affirming health care for LGBTQ people in the state on Wednesday.
The move comes amid Republican-backed efforts across the country to limit transgender health care for minors and young adults.
“Minnesota strives to be a welcoming and supportive place for LGBTQIA+ community members,” the executive order read. “We uphold the essential values of One Minnesota when all people, including members of the LGBTQIA+ community, are safe, celebrated, and able to live lives full of dignity and joy.”
Walz called gender-affirming care a “deeply personal decision” for transgender patients and their families.
Numerous medical organizations, including the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have said that access to gender-affirming care is essential to the health and wellness of gender diverse people.
Studies have shown that gender-affirming care can be life-saving for transgender and nonbinary children and adolescents, promoting positive mental and physical health and well-being.
States like Tennessee, Arizona, Utah, Arkansas, Alabama, Mississippi, South Dakota and Florida have passed policies or laws restricting transgender health care. Supporters of these laws believe that gender transitioning is harmful to youth and young adults. Some say patients should wait until they are older to make this kind of health decision.
In Minnesota, several legislative protections for LGBTQ people are in front of lawmakers, including banning conversion therapy and establishing Minnesota as a “Trans Refuge” state.
More than 388 anti-LGBTQ bills have been introduced in 2023 alone, according to the ACLU.