During a historic LGBTQIA+ reception at Government House, Governor Wes Moore of Maryland signed an executive order to safeguard gender-affirming health care in the state. The order aims to protect individuals seeking, receiving, or providing gender-affirming care from potential legal repercussions imposed by other states. This move reflects the administration’s ongoing commitment to defending the rights of LGBTQIA+ individuals.

With a strong emphasis on ensuring Maryland remains a safe haven for gender-affirming care, Governor Moore expressed his motivation behind the executive order: “In the State of Maryland, nobody should have to justify their own humanity. This order is focused on ensuring Maryland is a safe place for gender-affirming care, especially as other states take misguided and hateful steps to make gender-affirming care cause legal retribution. In Maryland, we are going to lead on this issue.”

Credit: Office of the Governor of Maryland

Lieutenant Governor Miller echoed the sentiment, emphasizing the importance of living authentically and receiving the necessary gender-affirming care. She stated, “In signing this executive order, this administration is saying to all LGBTQIA+ Marylanders: You deserve to be your authentic selves—during Pride month and every month. You deserve to live safely, openly, and freely and receive the gender-affirming care you need.”

The executive order grants LGBTQIA+ Maryland individuals access to safe and medically necessary care. It also ensures that those who lawfully provide, seek, assist, or obtain gender-affirming treatment will not face legal liability or professional sanctions. This move is particularly significant considering Maryland’s long-standing support for the LGBTQIA+ community.

Maryland has been at the forefront of LGBTQIA+ rights, enacting progressive legislation in recent years. In 2012, it became the first state in the nation to establish, through a legislative vote, that same-sex couples are entitled to the same legal and civil benefits as heterosexual couples. Two years later, the Fairness for All Marylanders Act of 2014 prohibited discrimination based on gender identity and expression in public accommodations, housing, and employment.

Credit: Office of the Governor of Maryland

Furthermore, Maryland has actively taken steps to protect the mental and physical well-being of LGBTQIA+ individuals. In 2018, the state outlawed conversion therapy for minors and prohibited using state funds for such practices. The following year, establishing the LGBTQ Affairs Commission in the Governor’s Office of Community Initiatives demonstrated Maryland’s dedication to addressing challenges faced by the community and ensuring inclusive policies.

Recognizing the contributions of LGBTQIA+ veterans, Maryland restored those with less-than-honorable discharges to an “honorably discharged” status in 2022 if their discharge was solely based on sexual orientation or gender identity. This restoration grants them access to state benefits, rights, and privileges.

In a recent development, the Maryland Legislative LGBTQ+ Caucus was established within the Maryland General Assembly. This caucus aims to address issues affecting the LGBTQIA+ community and work towards advancing their rights and well-being.

Governor Moore’s continued support for the LGBTQIA+ community has been evident through his actions. On March 31, he proclaimed International Transgender Day of Visibility in Maryland, becoming the first governor in state history to commemorate the day formally. This proclamation not only celebrates the accomplishments of transgender Marylanders but also raises awareness and promotes trans justice.

Furthering the cause, Governor Moore signed Senate Bill 460 and House Bill 283, collectively known as The Trans Health Equity Act, on May 3. These bills expand coverage for gender-affirming treatments, ensuring transgender Marylanders access essential healthcare services.

With the executive order signed by Governor Wes Moore, Maryland solidifies its position as a progressive state that champions the rights and well-being of the LGBTQIA+ community. By protecting gender affirm ing health care, Maryland demonstrates its commitment to creating an inclusive and safe environment for all individuals.

The executive order holds particular significance as it shields transgender and nonbinary individuals from potential legal punishment imposed by other states. With over 94,000 transgender or nonbinary residents in Maryland, this order ensures that they can access the care they need without fear of discrimination or retribution.

Gender-affirming care plays a crucial role in the physical and mental well-being of transgender and nonbinary individuals. It encompasses a range of medical interventions, including hormone therapy and gender confirmation surgeries, that help individuals align their physical appearance with their gender identity. By protecting access to these essential treatments, Maryland is proactively supporting the transgender community.

The executive order also highlights Maryland’s ongoing efforts to advance LGBTQIA+ rights. The state has solidified its commitment to equality and non-discrimination by enacting comprehensive legislation over the years. The establishment of the LGBTQIA+ Affairs Commission, for example, showcases Maryland’s dedication to addressing the unique challenges faced by LGBTQIA+ individuals and fostering inclusive policies.

Moreover, restoring LGBTQIA+ veterans with less-than-honorable discharges to “honorably discharged” status reflects the state’s recognition of their sacrifices and commitment to ensuring their access to benefits and rights.

The Maryland Legislative LGBTQ+ Caucus, established this year, provides a platform for lawmakers to advocate for LGBTQIA+ rights within the state’s legislative framework. This caucus serves as a vital voice for the community, working towards achieving equal rights and social justice.

Governor Wes Moore’s unwavering support for the LGBTQIA+ community is evident through his proactive measures. By proclaiming the International Transgender Day of Visibility in Maryland, he acknowledges the accomplishments of transgender individuals and raises awareness about their challenges.

Furthermore, the signing of The Trans Health Equity Act expands coverage for gender-affirming treatments, prioritizing the well-being and rights of transgender Marylanders. This legislation ensures that these individuals have access to comprehensive healthcare services and reduces barriers to essential treatments.

The executive order signed by Governor Moore aligns with the principles of inclusivity, equality, and human rights. Maryland’s dedication to protecting gender-affirming health care sets an example for other states, emphasizing the importance of supporting the transgender and nonbinary community.

As the LGBTQIA+ community celebrates Pride Month, this executive order symbolizes progress and acceptance. Maryland’s commitment to safeguarding gender-affirming care fosters an environment where individuals can live authentically, free from discrimination and persecution.

With the executive order now in effect, Maryland solidifies its position as a beacon of LGBTQIA+ rights and stands as a testament to the power of inclusive legislation. As the state continues to champion equality and fight for justice, it paves the way for a more equitable and accepting society for all individuals, regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation.

David M. Higgins II is an award-winning journalist passionate about uncovering the truth and telling compelling stories. Born in Baltimore and raised in Southern Maryland, he has lived in several East...

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