The Maine Legislature is considering a “transgender sanctuary” bill that would empower Maine’s court system to take jurisdiction over children from other states if they have been unable to obtain sex-change services due to their home state’s prohibition against medical providers performing the procedures on minors.
The bill (LD 1735) would prevent Maine law enforcement from cooperating with law enforcement from other states for the enforcement of laws that prevent medical providers from subjecting children to sex-change procedures.
Rep. Laurie Osher (D-Orono) introduced the bill, which has been cosponsored by Sen. Anne Carney (D-Cumberland), Rep. Nina Milliken (D-Blue Hill), Rep. Matt Moonen (D-Portland), Rep. Suzanne Salisbury (D-Westbrook), Rep. Erin Sheehan (D-Biddeford), and Rep. J. Mark North (D-Ellsworth).
In a phone interview, Osher said she was asked to introduce the bill by the LGBTQ+ Victory Fund. She instructed legislative staff to base it on a similar proposal that recently became law in California.
“I did introduce it for Maine to be a sanctuary for providing care,” said Osher.
In practice, the bill would block cooperation between law enforcement from Maine and a state like Montana, where Republican Gov. Greg Gianforte recently signed a law banning sex-change procedures for minors.
If Osher’s bill were to pass, a Montana parent could bring their child to a gender clinic in Maine for sex-change procedures and Maine would not cooperate with Montana police to return the child. Further, gender clinics would be protected from releasing information about sex change procedures performed on out-of-state minors.
In other words, the bill would effectively tell Red States that their prohibitions on child sex changes won’t be respected in Maine.
The bill uses the term “gender-affirming care,” which is a euphemism used by some advocates for sex change procedures to describe the administration of puberty-blocking drugs, cross-sex hormones, and surgeries that remove otherwise healthy organs.
Critics of using such procedures on children refer to the practice as child mutilation, as the procedures typically will render children infertile and in some cases disfigured.
The bill seeks to define sex change-related medical interventions as follows:
“Gender-affirming health care” means medically necessary health care that respects the gender identity of the patient, as experienced and defined by the patient, including, but not limited to, the following…”
Those procedures include puberty blockers (“interventions to suppress the development of endogenous secondary sex characteristics”), castrations, double mastectomies, and vaginoplasties (“interventions to align the patient’s appearance or physical body with the patient’s gender identity”), and other interventions to “alleviate distress” related to gender dysphoria.
On mental health, the bill would set the following definition:
“Gender-affirming mental health care” means mental health care or behavioral health care that respects the gender identity of the patient, as experienced and defined by the patient, including, but not limited to, developmentally appropriate exploration and integration of identity, reduction of distress, adaptive coping and strategies to increase family acceptance.”
The bill does not define what it means for a sex-change surgery to be “medically necessary.”