LA County to expand gender-affirming care, create 1st LGBTQ commission

LA County LGBTQ Commission Gender Affirming Care

The LA County Board of Supervisors pose for their official 2023 photo: Back row, from left to right: Kathryn Barger and Holly J. Mitchell. Front row, from left to right: Lindsay P. Horvath, Janice Hahn, and Hilda Solis. Photo: LA County Board of Supervisors

For the first time in Los Angeles County history, an LGBTQ+ commission will advise the Board of Supervisors on related policies and programs.

On Tuesday, the supervisors also approved expanding health care services for gender-affirming care and transgender people.

Both motions were approved in unanimous 5-0 votes.

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Gender-affirming care

The health care motion will expand the LA County’s gender-affirming medical care and mental health services to transgender, gender nonconforming, and intersex residents and will include hormone therapy and puberty suppressors, and surgical options, said Third District Supervisor Lindsey Horvath, who introduced the motion with First District Supervisor Hilda Solis.

It also will include offering PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis), the pill or injection reduces risk of HIV by more than 97%.

As a result of the approved motions, the county will be in line with the state of California.

“In the first five months of this year alone, nearly 500 anti-LGBTQ+bills have been introduced nationwide,” Solis said in a statement after the vote. “To that end, in light of the ever-increasing bias, prejudice, and hate against LGBTQ+ community members, it is clear that Los Angeles County not only needs to stand up as an ally but ensure that our policies are inclusive of the specific needs of these communities.”

Approximately 500,000 people, or 5.1% percent of the population, in LA County identify as LGBTQ+, and about 800 transgender, gender nonconforming, and intersex people have received care in Los Angeles County facilities, and with more coordination across county departments as required, the number is expected to grow, the county said.

Expansion details

The supervisors emphasized reaching out to LGBTQ+ youth, who make up 19% of youth in the county’s foster care system and 40% of the youth experiencing homelessness, according to a 2014 survey.

The Department of Public Health, and other county departments, must report back on the number of residents served.

The county will create and operate a website promoting its services for LGBTQ+ residents.

County employees at the DPH, the Department of Mental Health and the Department of Children and Family Services must take gender-affirming care training to better serve the LGBTQ+ communities, according to the motion.

The board wants an update in 90 days:

  • Status of clinical standards of the Gender Health Program
  • Feasibility of developing and offering educational webinars in gender-affirming
    care to front-line workforce members
  • Considerations for clinical and administrative staff needed to ensure the success of the program as it grows to serve more residents
  • Development of a communications and outreach strategy

LGBTQ Commission

The second motion will establish an LGBTQ+ commission with 15 members, including 10 nominated by the supervisors, two chosen at-large, and three by other countywide leaders (one by the county assessor, one by the county sheriff and one by the district attorney).

The commission will take about six months to form and will add to the 34 county commissions that advise the supervisors on policies and programs, often for marginalized communities.

It was introduced by Fourth District Supervisor Janice Hahn and Solis.

The supervisors will receive a draft ordinance in 90 days.

The second motion will establish an LGBTQ+ commission with 15 members, including 10 nominated by the supervisors, three by other countywide leaders, and two chosen at-large.

About the author

Phillip Zonkel

Award-winning journalist Phillip Zonkel spent 17 years at Long Beach's Press-Telegram, where he was the first reporter in the paper's history to have a beat covering the city's vibrant LGBTQ. He also created and ran the popular and innovative LGBTQ news blog, Out in the 562.

He won two awards and received a nomination for his reporting on the local LGBTQ community, including a two-part investigation that exposed anti-gay bullying of local high school students and the school districts' failure to implement state mandated protections for LGBTQ students.

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