New Jersey’s Democratic governor has a message for the LGBTQ+ community. He issued an executive order on Tuesday indicating that, unlike in some Republican-controlled states, New Jersey is open and welcoming to everybody regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. In addition, he says New Jersey is a “safe haven” for those seeking gender-affirming care.
Gov. Phil Murphy directed all state departments and agencies to implement protective measures to protect gender-affirming healthcare providers and recipients with his executive order 326.
As a result of this order, LGBTQ+ youth in New Jersey, including transgender and non-binary youth, will have equal access to quality health care services regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or whether they live in New Jersey.
The Williams Institute at UCLA reports that more than 30,000 nonbinary and transgender people live in New Jersey.
According to the order, individuals who provide, receive, or otherwise facilitate gender-affirming healthcare services legal in New Jersey cannot be extradited to another state. In addition, departments and agencies of the executive branch are prohibited from cooperating with investigations that seek to hold anyone liable for civil or criminal penalties due to such care.
Moreover, the order prohibits New Jersey officials from cooperating with other states’ investigations into whether someone sought medical care in New Jersey and prevents extradition.
“Across the nation, we are witnessing attacks led by certain states that seek to undermine the equality, dignity, and safety of the LGBTQIA+ community, especially transgender and non-binary youth,” Murphy said in a statement.
“As leaders, our greatest responsibility is ensuring that every person we represent, regardless of their gender identity or gender expression, is entitled to respect, fairness, and freedom. We will continue to uphold these principles in New Jersey and support every person’s right to live freely and authentically by making our state a safe haven for those seeking or providing gender-affirming health care,” he continued.
Currently, four states ban transgender youth health care, and 110 state laws restrict or attack the rights of transgender youth, according to the ACLU.
Denying gender-affirming care is discriminatory and increases suicide rates, experts have said.
An informational website for transgender residents was launched shortly before Murphy issued the executive order as a centralized hub that will provide transgender and nonbinary people with access to information about programs and services, the New Jersey Monitorreports.
The site includes information about how to change one’s name and where to get legal assistance.