Democratic Gov. Signs Off on Legislation Expanding ‘Gender-Affirming’ Healthcare

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Posted: Jun 21, 2022 5:15 PM
Democratic Gov. Signs Off on Legislation Expanding ‘Gender-Affirming’ Healthcare

Source: AP Photo/Audrey McAvoy

Hawaii Gov. David Ige (D) signed into law three bills enshrining protections for transgender residents. 

Ige reportedly said during a signing ceremony that the state will “[redouble] our efforts to be a more inclusive community” for transgender residents.

One of the bills Ige signed will help residents access “gender-affirming” healthcare, a term that includes hormone therapy treatments and sex reassignment surgery.

Reportedly, the bill will force insurance companies to cover “medically-necessary gender-affirming health care, according to The Hill. This may also include voice therapy and laser hair removal. 

Under one of the bills, officially titled the Gender Affirming Treatment Act, health insurance companies in Hawaii will be prohibited from denying patients coverage for medically necessary gender-affirming health care, including procedures previously considered cosmetic, like voice training and hair removal.

“All health care services related to gender transition treatments shall be considered medically necessary and not cosmetic,” the bill reads. Insurance companies may only be required to cover gender-affirming medical care when treatments, like hormone therapy, are also covered for patients that use them for “purposes other than gender transition.”

Ige said the measure is “key” to protecting transgender people from discrimination in accessing affirming medical care.

A second piece of legislation signed by Ige states that Hawaii residents may not be excluded from juries due to their “gender identity.”

A third and final piece of legislation signed by Ige creates a state commission on the status of LGBT+ people in the state.

The commission, whose membership will consist of multiple state and county representatives appointed by the governor, will aim to improve the state’s interface with the LGBTQ+ community and identify short- and long-term needs of LGBTQ+ Hawaiians.

“The commission will play a critical role in coordinating programs, creating public awareness and establishing long-range goals and cooperation on behalf of the LGBTQ+ community,” Ige said. “Collectively, these three bills are critical in supporting the LGBTQ+ members in our community.”

Democratic Sen. Chris Lee (HI), who sponsored the third measure, said during the bill signing that the pieces of legislation are “about fundamentally rejecting the politics of division and discrimination now permeating throughout the rest of the country.”

The Biden administration has been pushing transgender health care toward Americans, especially minors, which Townhall has covered. A study published this month by UCLA’s Williams Institute found that 1.6 million people in the United States identify as transgender, including 300,000 who are only ages 13 to 17.