Governor signs bill for gender affirming care for transgender prison population into law
LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - Late Wednesday, Governor Joe Lombardo signed a Senate Bill (https://www.leg.state.nv.us/App/NELIS/REL/82nd2023/Bill/9844/Overview) guaranteeing more equitable treatment for transgender and gender non-conforming people incarcerated within the Nevada Department of Corrections. After the bill became law, FOX5′S spoke with the ACLU who has been pushing for reform and changes for years. The ACLU says Nevada’s prisons have largely failed to comply with Ninth Circuit case law on how incarcerated people who are transgender should be treated while in the state’s care. The new law is a huge step toward changing that.
“People who are removed from their daily lives and sent to this kind of setting often times realize a lot of things about themselves and often one of those things is gender identity,” explained West Juhl with the ACLU of Nevada in a February interview with FOX5 when the bill on gender affirming care for Nevada’s prisoners was first being introduced.
“If you are not already receiving some form of gender affirming care, things like hormone replacement therapy, then once you are incarcerated within the Department of Corrections you will not be able to access those services at all,” Juhl revealed. The ACLU says Governor Lombardo signing legislation to change that will save taxpayers by avoiding unnecessary and costly litigation from transgender prisoners denied their right to medical care.
“These are really hot button political issues, but there’s a civil liberties argument that is actually much simpler,” Julh argued.
Juhl, who identifies as non-binary, says across the country, people who are transgender, nonbinary and gender diverse are under attack. Due to national political pressure, a drag show planned at Nellis Air Force Base was just cancelled. (https://www.fox5vegas.com/2023/06/02/drag-show-slated-kick-off-pride-month-nellis-air-force-base-canceled/)
“Here in Nevada, we are actually really well off as far as rights and protections for my LGBTQ+ siblings, but we see this surge of really hateful rhetoric, lots of misinformation, people just not understanding,” Juhl shared.
Still, Juhl is celebrating as this week Governor Lombardo crossed the political aisle twice, also becoming one of the first Republican governors to enshrine protections for out-of-state abortion patients.
“It is really amazing now all these years later to see this bill signed into law and just know that we are in a state that is actively protecting trans people,” Juhl said.
The ACLU is still waiting to see what will happen with other legislation related to the transgender community, including a bill mandating health insurance companies in Nevada cover costs of gender affirming care.
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