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Colorado Is First Sanctuary State for Transgender Tourism

New laws protect clinicians providing sex change procedures and people traveling from other states to obtain them

Colorado has become the first sanctuary state for “transgender tourism” after bills protecting sex change procedures for minors was signed into law by the state’s Democratic governor.

Following the passage of the new legislation, minors in other states can go to Colorado to have medical treatments for gender dysphoria, including puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, gender-affirming mastectomies, and surgical procedures to alter genitals.

One of the bills Gov. Jared Polis signed into law, SB23-188, prevents Colorado courts from issuing subpoenas in connection with a proceeding in another state concerning a person who seeks abortion or sex change procedures in Colorado, or who aids in the performance of abortions or sex change procedures in Colorado.

Other states that have outlawed abortion and gender transition medical procedures for minors have pursued legislative packages seeking to criminalize travel to other states to undergo the procedures. But, Colorado’s new law also limits other states’ abilities to pursue legal action against individuals who seek to obtain, or perform, sex change procedures in Colorado.

“I’m proud to sign these pro-freedom laws to further uphold Colorado’s value of protecting access to reproductive health care,” Polis said in a statement. “I deeply thank Colorado’s legislature for sending these bills to my desk and was proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with the bill sponsors today because here in Colorado, we value individual freedoms and we stand up to protect them.”

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Population Affairs says sex change procedures for minors “improves the mental health and overall well-being of gender diverse children and adolescents.”

Across the U.S., there are now 14 states that ban puberty blockers and sex change surgeries for minors. Those states are Indiana, Idaho, West Virginia, Kentucky, Georgia, Iowa, Tennessee, Mississippi, South Dakota, Utah, Florida, Alabama, Arizona, and Arkansas.

According to the Human Rights Campaign, 29.3 percent of transgender minors live in states that have passed bans on gender transition medical procedures, while more than 300,000 high school-aged youth are actively seeking sex change medical procedures.

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