The Minnesota Capitol, where Democratic lawmakers are working to bring LGBTQ+ protection bills to fruition. Photo: RebeccaDLev/Shutterstock

While 2023 is gearing up to be as fraught or even more so than 2022 when it comes to anti-LGBTQ+ legislation, there are some bills that would make lives for queer and transgender youth and adults better. Here are five bills you will want to pay attention to in the coming weeks and months now that elected officials are back in session.

Increased access to IVF and reproductive care

The Right to Build Families Act 2022 was introduced by Democratic Sens. Tammy Duckworth of Illinois, Patty Murray of Washington, and Rep. Susan Wild of Pennsylvania. The bill would “prohibit the limitation of access to assisted reproductive technology, and all medically necessary care surrounding such technology.” The bill would strengthen the ability to access In vitro fertilization (IVF) for families and individuals, including members of the LGBTQ+ community. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1-2% of births in the U.S. are made possible through IVF. Duckworth herself used IVF to conceive her two daughters with husband Bryan Bowlsbey. In a post-Roe world, IVF is at risk of attacks from anti-abortion groups and politicians, some who consider life to begin at fertilization

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker recently signed House Bill 4664, another post-Roe reproductive health bill. HB 4664 enshrines and protects access to gender-affirming and reproductive health care for all Illinoisans and “and those who seek safe haven,” said Gov. Pritzker. According to a press release issued by the Illinois government website, “The act takes major steps to expand access by guaranteeing that abortion medications, PEP/PrEP, and gender-affirming care be covered by insurers at no extra cost to consumers and requires local government employers to offer insurance plans that provide coverage for these treatments, as well as for birth control.”

Protections for trans and nonbinary patients

In Minnesota, Senate Bill 63 would help trans and nonbinary youth and their families by preventing other states from interfering or subpoenaing information about a patient’s gender-affirming healthcare. The bill is sponsored by a group of Minnesota Democrats, Sens. Erin Maye Quade, Jen McEwan, David Dibble, Clare Oumou Verbeten and Lindsey Port.

Banning conversion therapy

Also in Minnesota, a House committee is working on HF 16, a measure to ban conversion therapy for LGBTQ+ individuals under the age of 18 and vulnerable adults. The bill is sponsored by Rep. Athena Hollins, a longtime LGBTQ+ advocate. Rep. Hollins proposed the same bill in 2021 but it did not go further than the House. However, the Democrats now control the House and Senate in Minnesota, so HF 16 has a stronger chance of being passed.

Insurance coverage for trans and nonbinary public employees

State Rep. Sahara Hayes has sponsored bill H.J.R. 5 in the Utah State Legislature that would cover gender confirmation surgeries and treatment for state employees and beneficiaries through the Public Employees’ Benefit and Insurance Program (PEHP). The bill was only introduced Jan. 17 so it may be some time before anything is voted on.

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