Maryland State House

Trans Rights Advocacy Coalition Celebrates a Successful 2023 Legislative Session

ANNAPOLIS, MD (Monday, April 10, 2023) – As the Maryland General Assembly adjourns sine die, the Trans Rights Advocacy Coalition (TRAC) celebrates a successful session and looks forward to working with the legislature and the Moore-Miller administration to protect and advance the rights of transgender and gender diverse Marylanders. The biggest win this session was the passage of SB460/HB283, the Trans Health Equity Act. The legislation will expand Maryland Medicaid coverage of gender-affirming healthcare, fully aligning that care with current clinical standards.  The bill passed the House by a vote of 97-39, the Senate by a vote of 31-15, and goes into effect on October 1, 2023. 

Speaking on the passage of the Trans Health Equity Act, Ngaire Phillip, Board Member for Baltimore Safe Haven said “this legislation positions Maryland to become a nationwide leader in gender affirming care practice. We must harness this momentum and continue putting the pieces in place to enshrine Maryland as a refuge for trans communities.”

“The Trans Health Equity Act will resolve a financial inequity within the trans community where we have to crowdfund for critical medical and surgical care. With this bill, that financial responsibility will be more shared.” Jamie Grace Alexander, FreeState Justice

TRAC leaders and coalition members spent significant time lobbying for the legislation, educating legislators and the public about the need for gender affirming care, and building a groundswell of grassroots support. TRAC generated more than 2,000 emails from constituents urging their legislators to support the bill.

While THEA was a major win, TRAC is disappointed that the legislature didn’t pass other important legislation, despite the urgency of protecting transgender Marylanders. 

TRAC’s other priority bill, the Transgender Respect, Agency, and Dignity Act (HB426/SB761), did not receive a committee vote in either chamber. The bill would provide protections for incarcerated transgender Marylanders, who face a disproportionate and alarming level of violence in Maryland’s correctional facilities.

The legislature did take positive action to put reporting requirements into the budget for the Department of Public Safety and Corrections to provide data on housing and safety regarding incarcerated individuals who identify as transgender or gender nonconforming. 

“It is vital that Maryland correctional facilities stop violating PREA and provide more protections to incarcerated transgender Marylanders.  Transgender women are sexually assaulted at 10 times the rate of the general prison population, and they are frequently forced into solitary confinement for their own ‘protection.’  These unconscionable practices must stop.” – Sam Williamson, Disability Rights Maryland

This was TRAC’s first session operating as a coalition; over 35 groups joined the coalition and supported our priority legislation. TRAC will continue to build power and advocate for the transgender community during the interim and future legislative sessions. Passing the Trans Health Equity Act was the first of many policy wins to come.

“This campaign has demonstrated the overwhelming support for trans people in Maryland. In the face of national attacks against our rights, our families, and our healthcare, thousands of Marylanders joined us in defending the dignity of trans people and our care.” – Margo Quinlan, Mental Health Association of Maryland

The Trans Rights Advocacy Coalition is a trans-led group organizing to improve the wellbeing of transgender Marylanders, & ensure that all of us are able to live safe, affirming, & prosperous lives.