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Gov. Brown Signs Landmark Bill Ensuring Medical Care, Counseling, Surgery For Transgender Youth In Foster Care

Transgender Pride flag
Transgender Pride flag. (SOURCE: Ted Eytan/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0)

STUDIO CITY (CBSLA) — Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday signed into law a landmark bill that gives, as a right, access to medical services, including counseling, hormone therapy and surgery, to transgender youth in foster care.

The services will be covered by Medi-Cal for transgender and gender nonconforming youths and include other services, such as dental and vision.

Assembly Bill 2119 was introduced by Todd Gloria (D-San Diego), who said the law will "empower transgender foster youth to live authentically and simply be themselves."

"The passage of AB 2119 today is a momentous sign of hope for transgender foster youth living in the system growing up feeling neglected, forgotten, or out of place," Gloria said in a statement after the bill's passage in the state senate last month.

The conservative Christian California Family Foundation claims on its website AB 2119 will force "puberty blocking drugs" and "sex change operations on foster kids," and that services provided "affirms their gender confusion." Nowhere in the text of the bill does it say children will be forced to accept any of the services provided.

The group claimed victory when AB 2943, co-authored by Gloria, was shelved last month. It would have banned the advertising and sale of so-called "gay conversion therapy" services in California. Assemblymember Evan Low (D-Los Gatos) said he put his bill on hold after talking to faith leaders across the state.

"The best policy is not made in a vacuum and in order to advance the strongest piece of legislation, the bill requires additional time to allow for an inclusive process not hampered by legislative deadlines," Low, a gay man, said last month. "With a hopeful eye toward the future, I share with you that, despite the support the bill received in the Assembly and Senate, I will not be sending AB 2943 to the Governor this year."

The American Civil Liberties Union, a co-sponsor of the AB 2119, says "[t]ransgender and gender nonconforming (TGNC) youth are significantly overrepresented in California's foster care system."

(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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