Governor David Ige of Hawaii signed into law three bills that strengthen protections for transgender citizens, The hill reports. The new laws come as multiple states across the United States seek to limit trans and non-binary freedoms, particularly in the area of health.
“‘The Kapaemahu Healing Stones’ on display behind me explore our past and underscore that Native Hawaiians had a special and respected place for citizens with dual identities,” Ige said at the signing ceremony. “We are here today not only to recognize this rich history, but also to signify that in the future, we are redoubling our efforts to be a more inclusive community overall.”
The first bill, titled the Gender Affirmation Treatment Act, establishes that gender-affirming health care is medically necessary under the law, requiring insurance companies to cover it. This includes hormone therapy, surgeries, hair removal, and voice training. At a time, The hill notes that “insurance companies can only be required to cover gender-affirming medical care where treatments, such as hormone therapy, are also covered for patients who use them for ‘purposes other than gender transition’. gender'”.
The second bill prohibits jury exclusion based on gender identity or expression. “Our Constitution requires a jury of peers, and we believe that all members of our community should participate in our system,” Ige said.
The third bill creates a permanent commission dedicated to improving the lives of gay Hawaiians. The members of the commission will be made up of county representatives appointed by the governor. According to the text of the bill, the objective is “to establish a body to improve the interface of the State with the members of the [LGBTQ+] community; identify the short and long term needs of its members; and to ensure that there is an effective way to seek, plan for, and advocate for the equity of this population in all aspects of state government.
Ige added, “The commission will play a vital role in coordinating programs, raising public awareness, and establishing long-term goals and cooperation on behalf of the LGBTQ+ community. Collectively, these three bills are essential to supporting LGBTQ+ members of our community. »
Senator Chris Lee, co-sponsor of the third bill, spoke about the importance of these laws in addressing when trans health care has become a particular right-wing obsession. “These bills, while each important on their own merits, mean so much more,” he said. “This is not just about commission or jury service – this is about fundamentally rejecting the politics of division and discrimination that now pervades the rest of the country.”