Nevada governor signs bill to let foster kids choose their own gender
The Governor of Nevada has signed into law a bill to allow children in the foster care system to self-identify their gender.
The bill was introduced by Assistant Assembly Majority Leader Nelson Araujo, which will allow children to identify themselves with the gender matching their identity.
Bill 99 would also mean training and working with LGBT+ youth.
Governor Brian Sandoval signed the bill into law on Tuesday.
It will take effect on 1 October.
An amendment was previously added to mean that children must be protected against rape in correctional facilities.
The Las Vegas Division of Children and Family Services will also be required under the bill to set up processes to place LGBT+ children in government care to be more appropriately placed with families.
Grievances by LGBT+ children in foster care will also be heard by a new system under the bill.
The bill, Araujo said, was introduced because of a disproportionally high number of LGBT+ young people in the foster system.
“This is a very emotional bill to take in, but it’s a very important bill,” Araujo said according to the Reno Gazette Journal.
“I strongly feel that if we allow ourselves to pass this bill and get it signed that we’ll be making great advancements toward ensuring that all of our youth have the proper protections in order to thrive in our great state.”
Various questions were asked by legislators as the bill was introduced, with some saying the new guidelines could reduce the number of available foster families.
Several lawmakers were behind the bill, however, saying that the conversation needed to be had about trans young people and how foster families deal with LGBT+ issues with the support of government.
The bill also exempts any family from fostering an LGBT+ young person, if they have a religious objection.
“It’ll take time and I won’t hide from that, but I think these are conversations worth having,” Araujo said.
“I think there are going to be several examples we can pull from.”
Nobody spoke in opposition to the bill during the hearing while a dozen spoke in favour of it.
One trans man, Tristan Torres, said that he had been disowned by his mother after he came out as transgender.
“When I got put into my first foster home, I thought I’d be safe, but exactly the opposite happened,” he said.