On Tuesday, Pittsburgh City Council passed a series of bills aimed at protecting access to gender-affirming care in the City of Pittsburgh. Sponsored by City Councilors Barb Warwick, Bobby Wilson, and Bruce Kraus, the two bills passed unanimously.
The first bill protects providers and patients from out-of-state civil or criminal investigations by prohibiting any city agency from aiding investigations into providers and their patients. The second bill protects patients and providers in the event that there would be a state-wide gender-affirming care ban in Pennsylvania.
City Councilor Barb Warwick said the bills were modeled after the City’s abortion access protection bills passed last year.
The bills were necessitated as several states across the nation have begun enacting restrictions on transgender healthcare, including hormone therapies and surgical procedures. In some states, parents who seek gender-affirming care for their minor children can face penalties.
“Trans rights are human rights, and now we’ve taken action to ensure those rights will remain secure in the City of Pittsburgh. With more and more states enacting or considering restrictions on gender-affirming care, this legislation was necessary to ensure that Pittsburgh remains a safe and welcoming city for the LGBTQ+ community,” Warwick told WESA.
Dena Stanley, founder of TransYouniting and an organizer of Pittsburgh Pride, said, “Gender-affirming care is life saving.” Stanley raised concerns about access to day-to-day needs that the community still faces. “This is a great step, but it is a middle step that seems performative at best, and ill-thought-out with little preparation or feedback from the community. Our community deserves protection, but where is the support for the services that are needed day-to-day? “