NEVADA – Advocates within Nevada’s LGBTQ community are hailing the recently concluded 82nd legislative session as a decisive victory, with lawmakers successfully passing a series of bills that strengthen civil liberties. This comes at a time when other states across the nation have been restricting rights for transgender individuals, particularly trans youth.
Democratic lawmakers led the charge in drafting and advancing LGBTQ legislation, which was ultimately signed into law by Republican Governor Joe Lombardo. The bills encompassed a range of issues, including setting care standards for transgender inmates in state-run prison facilities, granting teens access to preventive care for sexually transmitted infections, protecting access to gender-affirming care, and more.
Speaking at an event hosted by Silver State Equality, State Senators Dallas Harris and Melanie Scheible, both from Las Vegas, emphasized the public health perspective of the LGBTQ community in this session. They highlighted how these measures not only benefit the LGBTQ community but also have a positive impact on society as a whole.
One of the bills, Senate Bill 211, enables individuals to change their chosen name on their marriage license, addressing a discrepancy where it was easier to modify a birth certificate than a marriage license. Harris, an openly gay senator, expressed the importance of rectifying this disparity.
Harris also lauded the passing of Senate Bill 172 and Senate Bill 439, which were crafted with the assistance of former Governor Steve Sisolak’s administration. SB 172 allows minors to access examinations and treatments for sexually transmitted infections and contraception with prior consent, while SB 439 mandates uninterrupted services for HIV treatment during public health emergencies and ensures access to treatment for inmates with HIV.
Scheible, who is also openly LGBTQ, celebrated the passing of Senate Bill 163, which prohibits medical insurers from discriminating based on gender identity or expression. She highlighted that the bill ensures equal coverage for procedures, treatments, and surgeries for transgender, nonbinary, or gender-nonconforming individuals.
However, both Harris and Scheible expressed disappointment over Governor Lombardo’s veto of Senate Bill 302, which aimed to protect providers of gender-affirming care to minors from legal prosecution. They argued that the intent of the bill was to safeguard actions that remain legal within state boundaries, countering states that criminalize such care. Despite the setback, they remain hopeful and committed to the cause.
Nevada stands out as a state with no restrictions on accessing gender-affirming care, while other states like Oklahoma, Texas, and South Carolina, which have banned it for minors, are considering further legislation. The increasing anti-trans sentiments in certain states have prompted a migration of individuals to Nevada, benefiting the state’s economy and community.
Nevada’s longstanding commitment to expanding rights for the LGBTQ community positions it as a trailblazer. From outlawing sodomy laws in the early 1990s to granting public accommodations for gender-divergent individuals in 2011, Nevada’s progress sets an example for others to follow.
While the achievements of the legislative session may remain localized in Carson City, there is hope that Nevada’s accomplishments will receive national recognition for the strides made in protecting and advancing LGBTQ rights.
Credits: Las Vegas Sun
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