Senate Bill 923 by Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) passed the Assembly Health Committee on Tuesday afternoon with a 11-1 vote. During a time when states like Texas and Florida are actively passing anti-Trans bill, California is becoming the leader in protecting the rights for transgender, gender diverse, and intersex (TGI) people across the country. SB 923, the TGI Inclusive Care Act, would address the dire need for affirming care. Now, California is one step closer to making inclusive health care for TGI people a reality.

The bill employs multiple strategies to improve access to affirming care for TGI Californians. Specifically, SB 923 would require:

  • Evidence-based cultural competency curriculum for physicians under continuous medical education.
  • Departments track and monitor complaints and publicly post findings in health regulators’ annual reports or website.
  • Health plans will have information on, or accessible from, the provider directory and available through the call center all in-network providers who they have affirmed offer gender-affirming services.
  • The Health & Human Services Agency to convene a working group comprised of various representatives to develop quality standards with input from at least 3 TGI-serving organizations who will recommend training curriculum.

SB 923 builds on the Transgender Wellness and Equity Fund, administered by the Office of Health Equity within the State Department of Public Health, for the purpose of grant funding focused on coordinating trans-inclusive health care for individuals who identify as TGI.

Many TGI Californians encounter discrimination and difficulty accessing the health care they need. TGI Californians report discrimination including being refused treatment, verbally harassed, physically or sexually assaulted, or having to teach the provider about transgender people in order to receive appropriate care.

In a testimony provided by Dannie Cesena, Trans Health Equity Manager of the California LGBTQ Health and Human Services Network, he stated, “No transgender person should ever have to worry if they will receive competent health care from a medical provider, and we should feel safe to receive routine exams and procedures. SB 923 is important so my community can find medical providers who will treat them with respect regardless of their gender identity.”

A survey of primary care providers found that over 30% did not feel that they were capable of providing transgender care and a small but concerning number would not be willing to care for transgender patients in need.  Nearly 15% of providers unwilling to provide routine care, with that number increasing for specific services.  In 2019, 44% of TGI people who were surveyed in the #Out4MentalHealth Community survey reported traveling farther than 30 minutes to see a primary care provider.

“If SB 923 were to become a law it would not only grant access to gender affirming care, but it will also create job opportunities. By providing training and developing curriculum for medical professionals to be able to treat our community, we’re going to need TGI community members to go out and provide these trainings,” stated Jacob Rostovsky, Executive Director and Founder of Queer Works. “When this bill passes it will support the economic empowerment of the TGI community as well.”

SB 923 is another step towards achieving health equity for TGI people. Every person deserves to receive quality and compassionate health care from understanding and respectful health care providers. SB 823 ensures that California prioritizes the delivery of inclusive healthcare by creating first-in-the-nation quality standards for TGI patents and ensures curriculum is relevant to TGI patient’s health needs. All TGI Californians should be able to access comprehensive health care that is inclusive of their needs.

SB 923 is co-sponsored by Break The Binary LLC, California LGBTQ Health and Human Services Network, California TRANScends, Equality California, Gender Justice LA, National Health Law Program, Orange County TransLatinas, Queer Works, Rainbow Pride Youth Alliance, San Francisco Office of Transgender Initiatives, The TransPower Project, TransCanWork, Trans Community Project, Trans Family Support Services, Transgender Health and Wellness Center, Tranz of Anarchii INC, Unique Woman’s Coalition (UWC), Unity Hope, and Western Center on Law & Poverty.