MORGONN MCMICHAEL: AZ governor's executive order says state employee health care plan must pay for sex-change operations

Arizona Governor Katie Hobbs signed an Executive Order mandating the state health plan to cover sex-change surgeries for LGBT state employees.

The governor signed a second Executive Order “barring state agencies from funding, promoting, or supporting conversion therapy treatment for minors,” according to a press release. The Executive Orders were announced at One-N-Ten, a youth LGBT activist group in Phoenix, on Tuesday. The group claimed, “Gender-affirming care has been endorsed by every major U.S. medical and mental health organization, and proven to help [transgender-identifying people’s] mental health and well-being.”

The second Executive Order also states that Arizona will not cooperate with other states’ extradition orders for individuals charged with a “criminal violation of a law where the alleged violation relates to the provision of, assistance with, securing of, or receipt of gender-affirming healthcare, unless the acts forming the basis of the prosecution of the crime charged would also be punishable as a criminal offense under Arizona law.”

Regarding the restriction of conversion therapy for minors, the release explains, “State Agencies will implement policies to actively protect LGBTQ+ minors from the harmful effects of conversion therapy and ensure public funds are not spent on these dangerous practices.”

In 2017, under former Arizona Governor Doug Ducey, the state health plan was prohibited from providing coverage for sex-reassignment surgeries. This ban has been challenged in court by a transgender-identifying University of Arizona professor,  Russell B. Toomey, whose attorneys claim that she needs to receive a “gender-affirming” hysterectomy. Governor Hobbs’ Executive Order effectively resolves the lawsuit, according to NBC News, which reported that the “ACLU attorneys representing Toomey said Tuesday they will file a motion to settle the case.”

“Our LGBTQ+ community should never have to face hate and discrimination, and I will do everything in my power to fight for full equality,” Governor Hobbs said in a statement after the signing. “The state is leading by example on this issue, and we will continue working until Arizona is a place where every individual can participate equally in our economy and our workforce without fear of discrimination or exclusion.”

The governor’s office not only refers to “gender-affirming care” as medically necessary but also considers conversion therapy for minors “dangerous.” It is generally agreed upon that “conversion therapy” means any attempt to help a gender dysphoric person identify with their biological sex rather than their perceived or preferred gender. It can also be used to alter an individual's sexual orientation. In Canada, for example, conversion therapy is illegal and can hold a maximum penalty of five years in prison for violations.

This piece first appeared at TPUSA.

Image: Title: katie hobbs


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