Students react to bill declaring California a refuge for transgender youth


Canva Image by Rianne Herrera

A bill suggested by Sen. Scott Wiener (D – San Francisco) could mark California as a sanctuary for transgender youth and their families from other states. Students at Cosumnes River College expressed support for the bill and transgender youth.

California could become a sanctuary state for displaced transgender youth and their families under a bill introduced by state Sen. Scott Wiener (D – San Francisco) in March.
In interviews with over a dozen Cosumnes River College students, most reacted with support for the possible legislation and empathy for the individuals it would benefit.
“It’s great,” said Devon Hartegen, 29, a physics and math major, of the potential measure while she gestured “thumbs up” with her hands. “People need safe spaces to be themselves.”
The bill, co-sponsored with Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California and LGBTQ+ civil rights organization Equality California, intends to provide possible refuge from states currently acting to restrict gender-affirming care.
According to Wiener’s Twitter post from March 17, the proposal would “protect & grant refuge to trans kids & their parents who flee to CA from Texas, etc., in the event states try to separate these kids from their parents, criminalize the parents, or criminalize people coming to CA to receive gender-affirming care.”
“I would 100% support them coming here,” said Mathew Fukushima, 22, an undeclared major. “I feel like it’s not right that they have to live as criminals in their own state.”
Marie Metias, 22, a business major and student assistant with the campus outreach program EOPS/CARE, agreed with the bill and said she feels it echoes the accepting nature of the Golden State.
“I feel like California really has been sanctuary to not only transgender people but (also) to Latinos and immigrants,” said Metias. “The bill is following in California’s nature and I fully support it.”
Metias also expressed outrage over Florida’s recent Parental Rights in Education bill, know by its opponents as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill.
“I feel that what’s happening in Florida is very unfair and mean to people, straight out,” Metias added.
Some students communicated support for the potential legislation while also expressing concerns about its practicality.
“I am pretty much fine and okay with it,” said Lisa Stade, 32, a history major. “I just wonder how we’re going to provide for it.”
Nicholas Subido, 22, a social justice studies major, agreed.
“The best thing for us is to give them the care they deserve,” said Subido. “The problem is with California, we can enact the laws but sometimes we don’t follow up.”
Evan Mapson, 18, an art history major, personalized his approval of the measure.
“I’ve had a lot of trans friends over the years,” said Mapson. “I think they deserve what’s best for them. And if it’s for them to come over here to be safe…I support that.”