LAS VEGAS, Nevada (KVVU) — As states across the nation hold legislative sessions to vote on new laws, gender-affirming care is being targeted in several states, especially for transgender youth. However, in Nevada, there are two bills this session aimed at moving gender-affirming care forward.
“It can be really difficult for members of our community who are transgender and gender non-conforming to access medical care sometimes,” expressed
West Juhl, Director of Communications, ACLU of Nevada. Juhl explained right now private health insurance companies in Nevada don’t always cover gender-affirming care. Senate Bill 163 would require them to.
“I’ve known so many of my friends and colleagues personally who have had to bend over backward looking for any little loophole to get the treatment they need under their current insurance plans and it shouldn’t be that way,” Juhl contended.
“We look at insurance all the time… and nothing is ever really covered,” asserted Chris Davin, Executive Director of the Henderson Equality Center.
A second gender-affirming care bill, Senate Bill 153, would update care guidelines for transgender incarcerated persons in Nevada.
“There’s this thing at the Department of Corrections they call the freeze frame policy which is basically 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 is particularly concerned about gender-affirming care in Nevada’s prison system because transgender people disproportionately face incarceration and some realize their gender identity when they are in lock up.
“People often 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,” Juhl stated.
The Henderson Equality Center is glad to see two bills moving gender-affirming care forward in Nevada when other states are moving to restrict care, especially for trans youth.
“We are becoming a more progressive state making sure that we are passing more legislation for the LGBT community and giving Nevada a safe haven for those that are suffering in other states with legislation going on. They are welcome here,” David added.
Both bills were scheduled to be heard this week but are on hold because of the snowstorm delaying the legislative session in Carson City.
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