Thanks to efforts spearheaded by openly gay Nevada Assemblyman Nelson Araujo, transgender foster children in Nevada received a plethora new protections. Assembly Bill 99, which mandates foster care facilities and juvenile courts treat transgender children as their identifying gender, was signed into law by Gov. Brian Sandoval last week. In addition, the legislation establishes training for social workers and foster parents with LGBTQ foster children. The bill aims to put minors in welcoming homes and the appropriate facilities by ensuring that courts commit children in compliance with their gender expressions and state protocols.
“Today we took an important step forward for some of Nevada's most at-risk and vulnerable youth, ensuring that every child, regardless of background, identity, or expression is safe and secure," Sandoval said.
The protections come during a time in which LGBTQ rights are under attack nationwide. Instances of hate crimes against transgender individuals have nearly tripled since 2013, many states have introduced or passed legislation blocking transgender people from using the bathroom of the gender they identify with, and President Trump rolled back protections for trans students implemented by the Obama administration. The success in Nevada shows that we need openly LGBTQ voices like Nelson Araujo in state legislatures to protect and fight for LGBTQ rights.