SACRAMENTO, Calif. A coalition of more than two dozen LGBTQ+ advocate organizations and health care providers are releasing a new report aimed at addressing the challenges and discrimination that transgender, gender-diverse, and intersex ("TGI") individuals face when seeking and receiving health care and health education.
The group, which convened under the name "Project RAINBOW," has put forth almost a dozen policy recommendations which they hope the California legislature will consider introducing to further protect LGBTQ+ people in the state and increase access to care.
With the disturbing rise of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation and policies throughout the country, the coalition is urging California to lead the way to ensure that young people are safe, supported, and have access to the resources and health care that they need. The groups want California policymakers to act upon the recommendations and take meaningful action to implement them to improve equitable access to health care services for TGI people.
LGBTQ+ individuals, especially TGI youth, are confronting an alarming rise in discrimination and violence, fueled by misinformation and political attacks. States across the country enacted 25 anti-LGBTQ+ bills in 2022, and by 2023, nearly 600 bills across 49 states were introduced to restrict the rights of transgender people. These attacks mirror previous assaults on reproductive freedom from the same extremists who limited access to abortion before turning their focus to gender-affirming care.
Project RAINBOW which stands for Resources Advocacy and Inclusive Network for Better Outcomes in LGBTQ+ Wellness came together in August 2023 to improve access to comprehensive health care and health education in settings that promote respect and validation, as well as address barriers to obtaining health care services including gender-affirming care in safe and inclusive settings. The policy recommendations in this report are the result of that process and are designed to promote access to health education, expand the availability of inclusive care and medically accurate resources, and create welcoming and supportive environments for California's diverse LGBTQ+ communities.
The report details how California should further invest in strong support services for LGBTQ+ people, particularly TGI people and their families, and ensure that the health care workforce is trained to provide inclusive care with dignity. California must also strengthen safeguards for LGBTQ+ communities and remain a safe haven from states that are creating hostile environments for TGI people.
The coalition stresses that in this dangerous moment, California must continue to lead the nation with legislation that safeguards LGBTQ+ civil rights and does everything possible to protect TGI communities from discrimination and violence.
STATEMENTS FROM PROJECT RAINBOW PARTICIPANTS:
"Across the county and even here in California, right-wing extremists are attempting to ban access to life-saving gender-affirming medical care and roll back protections for TGI youth. Project RAINBOW was formed in direct response to these attacks and will help to ensure that California remains a safe haven for the TGI community. We are grateful to the community advocates and medical providers that offered their time and expertise to this effort, and we hope California lawmakers will now work to enact the policy recommendations published on this report."
Tony Hoang, Executive Director, Equality California
"As a medical provider of gender-affirming care, Planned Parenthood believes in protecting everyone's fundamental right to control their own bodies and make their own personal decisions about their unique circumstances. This includes making sure all TGI people, especially youth, have access to comprehensive, whole-person health-related education and health care in a dignified and affirming environment, which these recommendations will help us work towards. We look forward to working in continued partnership with the participants and Legislature to bring meaningful change to California."
Jodi Hicks, CEO/President, Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California
"Comprehensive gender-affirming care (GAC) for the transgender, gender-diverse, and intersex (TGI) community needs to be made a top priority in every facet of healthcare throughout California and the rest of the nation. As a society, we cannot continue to exclude a subset of the community based on a moral compass and blatant bias. We have an obligation to ensure we are taking care of our TGI community and investing in the betterment of their lives. The movement to achieve health equity for all will not stop until the TGI community has an equitable seat at the table."
"The Sacramento LGBT Community Center works to create a region where all LGBTQ+ people thrive and to make this mission a reality, the TGI community must have access to affirming healthcare. The Center was thrilled to work alongside advocates and medical providers throughout California to develop statewide policy recommendations to create more equitable healthcare services. Project Rainbow's policy recommendations seek to improve research and information sharing, invest in community-based organizations, educate medical providers, and enshrine the right to gender-affirming care in California. The Center looks forward to supporting these recommendations and is eager to see these ideas become a reality."
Sacramento LGBT Community Center
"Project RAINBOW's report underscores the urgent need for California to prioritize the rights and well-being of its LGBTQ+ communities, particularly transgender, gender-diverse, and intersex individuals (TGI). In the face of growing anti-LGBTQ+ measures nationwide, it's imperative that California takes decisive action to ensure equitable access to comprehensive healthcare and education. We call on policymakers to heed these recommendations and foster inclusive environments that affirm and support the diverse needs of TGI people."
Trans Family Support Services
"Aligning with our commitment to equitable and inclusive healthcare, the California Academy of Family Physicians (CAFP) stands firmly behind the vital initiatives of Project RAINBOW. Upholding the principles of dignity, respect, and accessibility, we affirm that access to safe and affirming healthcare environments is imperative for all, especially our transgender, gender-diverse, and intersex (TGI) communities. Family physicians, with their specialized training in preventive and primary care for people from birth to end-of-life, provide continuity of care throughout someone's life, including intergenerational care, regardless of immigration status, gender identity, or sexual orientation. Every individual deserves compassionate care within an environment that fosters respect and validation. Guided by collaboration and evidence-based practices, we advocate for comprehensive health education, inclusive resources, and barrier-free access to gender-affirming care. Let us continue to champion the rights and welfare of California's diverse LGBTQ+ communities, ensuring their voices are heard and their health needs met with empathy and understanding."
California Academy of Family Physicians (CAFP)
Equality California is the nation's largest statewide LGBTQ+ civil rights organization. We bring the voices of LGBTQ+ people and allies to institutions of power in California and across the United States, striving to create a world that is healthy, just, and fully equal for all LGBTQ+ people. We advance civil rights and social justice by inspiring, advocating and mobilizing through an inclusive movement that works tirelessly on behalf of those we serve. www.eqca.org