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Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs Signs Exec Order Allowing State Healthcare to Cover Gender Reassignment Surgeries

A separate order bars government funds from being used to support conversion therapy

Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs has signed an executive order allowing state employees to receive sex change procedures and surgeries covered under state healthcare plans, while a separate directive signed the same day prevents state funding from being used to cover conversion therapy treatments for minors.

Additionally, Executive Order 2023-12 (pdf) prevents state agencies and departments from cooperating with investigations by another state that attempts to impose criminal or civil liabilities, or professional sanctions, against a person who provides, assists, seeks, or completes sex change procedures.

“Our LGBTQ+ community should never have to face hate and discrimination, and I will do everything in my power to fight for full equality,” Hobbs said in a statement. “The State is leading by example on this issue, and we will continue working until Arizona is a place where every individual can participate equally in our economy and our workforce without fear of discrimination or exclusion.”

The issue has been the subject of litigation, following a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on behalf of an Arizona professor unable to have a sex change surgery covered. Dr. Russell B. Toomey, an associate professor of family studies and human development at the University of Arizona, called the surgery “medically necessary” and argued that not being able to have the procedure covered unlawfully discriminated against him.

A joint statement with Toomey and his legal team at the ACLU hailed Hobbs’s executive action as a win, and announced that in response to the order the organization would request the court approve a final settlement in the case.

“Governor Hobbs used her executive pen to take bold, and most importantly, life-saving action. Not only were trans state employees categorically denied gender-affirming healthcare, but they were also denied the opportunity to even demonstrate why such surgery is medically necessary,” Christine Wee, senior staff attorney for the ACLU of Arizona, said in the statement. “We look forward to filing a proposed settlement and finally achieving equal healthcare coverage for all state employees.”

Toomey said, “Today’s executive order by Governor Hobbs provides unexplainable relief and care to the state-sanctioned suffering that I and other transgender Arizonans have endured for several years.”

The professor added, “I see this action as hope that our collective future in Arizona is one that allows trans people, like myself, to live lives full of joy and unrestricted opportunity.”

Executive Order 2023-13 (pdf) bars state agencies from using state or federals funds to promote, support, or enable any form of conversion therapy (treatments that do not validate and may seek to change an individual’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression) for minors.

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