Hobbs Bans State Support of Conversion Therapy, Allows Gender-Affirming Care for State Workers

By jacquesbilleaud

June 28, 2023

State agencies can no longer cooperate with civil and criminal cases in other states where gender-affirming health care is illegal.

Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs issued two pro-LGBTQ executive orders on Tuesday, banning state support of so-called conversion therapy and allowing transgender state employees to receive gender-affirming health care under their insurance plan.

Hobbs made the announcement from the offices of a central Phoenix nonprofit that focuses on helping LGBTQ+ youth.

Under the executive actions, state agencies will be prohibited from using funds to promote or facilitate so-called conversion therapy, the scientifically discredited practice of using therapy to “convert” LGBTQ+ people to heterosexuality or traditional gender expectations.

“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. “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.”

Also, state employee health insurance plans can no longer list gender-affirming surgery as ineligible for coverage. A ban on such coverage was enacted in 2017 under former Gov. Doug Ducey.

The change will impact former and current state employees and public university workers.

That order effectively resolves an ongoing lawsuit brought in 2019 by Dr. Russell Toomey, a University of Arizona professor who is transgender and sought coverage for a “medically necessary” surgery. ACLU attorneys representing Toomey said Tuesday they will file a motion to settle the case.

One of Hobbs’ orders also says state agencies cannot cooperate with civil and criminal cases in other states where gender-affirming health care is illegal.

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