New Jersey governor protects trans youth seeking health care with executive order

Gov. Phil Murphy
Gov. Phil Murphy Photo: Phil Murphy for Governor

Bucking the trend of state governments working to limit transgender youth’s access to gender-affirming healthcare, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) signed an executive order preventing people in the state from being extradited for providing, receiving, or facilitating gender-affirming care. Murphy also banned state agencies from cooperating with interstate investigations that would punish someone for gender-affirming care, and he also required them to help protect people in New Jersey that provide it.

“Across the nation, we are witnessing attacks led by certain states that seek to undermine the equality, dignity, and safety of the LGBTQIA+ community, especially transgender and non-binary youth,” Murphy said in a statement.  “As leaders, our greatest responsibility is ensuring that every person we represent, regardless of their gender identity or gender expression, is entitled to respect, fairness, and freedom.”

“We will continue to uphold these principles in New Jersey and support every person’s right to live freely and authentically by making our state a safe haven for those seeking or providing gender-affirming health care.”

LGBTQ+ and transgender advocates hailed the order.

“When transgender youth are under attack across the country, this gives me hope,” said 16-year-old trans activist Rebekah Bruesehoff in a statement. “I have always been grateful to live in New Jersey, but I am especially proud now to see my state take action that will protect and support not only me but my friends in states across the country. Transgender kids and teens like me just want to live our lives and be ourselves.” 

In 2017, Bruesehoff and her family protested the Trump administration rescinding guidance to schools that told them they couldn’t discriminate against transgender students. A picture of her holding a sign that read “I’m the scary transgender person the media warned you about” went viral when she was 10 years old.

“New Jersey continues to be one of the best states in the nation to live as an LGBTQ+ person,” said Garden State Equality Executive Director Christian Fuscarino. “As trans people are under attack by state governments across our country, we’re grateful Governor Murphy signed today’s executive order, which comes just after the state launched the Transgender Information Hub last week on Trans Day of Visibility.”

New Jersey is a Democratic state. It voted for President Joe Biden in the 2020 elections by a nearly 16-point margin over Donald Trump. The state has banned sexual orientation-based discrimination since 1991 and gender identity-based discrimination since 2006, and it has banned conversion therapy since 2013 with a bill signed by Republican former Gov. Chris Christie.

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