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New Mexico

New Mexico Human Rights Act; LGBTQ+ protections added

“Trans and nonbinary individuals deserve the support and care necessary to survive and thrive” – NM State Rep. Kristina Ortez



New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signing HB7 legislation (Photo Credit: Office of the Governor of New Mexico)

SANTA FE – New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signed House Bill 207 into law on Friday that expands protections for LGBTQ+ New Mexicans under the state’s Human Rights Act. For trans residents, Grisham also signed House Bill 31, a measure that removes the requirement that name changes be published in a newspaper.

The Santa Fe New Mexican newspaper reported that House Bill 31 also lets people 14 and older petition a district court for a name change and prohibits the court from requiring notice to the applicants’ parents if it finds notice would jeopardize the applicant’s safety.

Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signs HB 207 & 31
(Photo Credit: Equality New Mexico)

“While hundreds of bills have been introduced across the country to restrict the rights of queer and trans people, New Mexico is committed to making our state a safer place for everyone by closing a loophole to ensure our taxpayer dollars cannot be used to discriminate against our LGBTQ+ friends and neighbors,” state Rep. Kristina Ortez, D-Taos, said in a statement.

Rep. Christine Chandler, D-Los Alamos, the sponsor of House Bill 31 noted that the measure will benefit transgender New Mexicans seeking to change their names as well as ensure safety for victims of domestic violence who may change their names to be more secure. “Removing this antiquated publishing requirement protects New Mexicans’ privacy and allows them to safely move on with their lives,” Chandler said.

These measures are the latest in legislation passed this session to protect LGBTQ+ New Mexicans as well as women’s rights. On March 16, Grisham signed into law House Bill 7, the Reproductive and Gender-Affirming Health Care Act, which prohibits public bodies, including local municipalities, from denying, restricting, or discriminating against an individual’s right to use or refuse reproductive health care or health care related to gender.

“New Mexicans in every corner of our state deserve protections for their bodily autonomy and right to health care,” said Gov. Grisham as she signed HB7. “I’m grateful for the hard work of the Legislature and community partners in getting this critical legislation across the finish line.”

“Trans and nonbinary individuals deserve the support and care necessary to survive and thrive,” said HB7 co-sponsor Rep. Kristina Ortez. “Protecting gender-affirming health care is a critical part of making sure trans and non-binary New Mexicans can succeed in school, establish healthy relationships with their friends and family, and live authentically as themselves.”

“In New Mexico we value the freedom and dignity of making your own personal decision about reproductive and gender-affirming health care,” said Ellie Rushforth, ACLU-NM managing reproductive rights and gender equity attorney. “Now more than ever it is critical that New Mexicans and our neighbors have access to the full spectrum of health care in every corner of our state. We thank the Governor for supporting and signing HB 7 into law. This is lifesaving legislation.”


New Mexico

New Mexico Senate passes gender affirming care & abortions bill

HB7 passed the House two weeks ago, it will now return to the lower chamber due to some changes made to the bill in the Senate



New Mexico State Senate voting on HB 7 (Screenshot NMSS TV)

SANTA FE – In a 23 to 15 vote Tuesday afternoon, New Mexico’s Senate passed The Health Care Freedom Act, (HB7), a bill that will ban discrimination and protect the right to gender affirming care and abortions in the state.

HB7 passed the House two weeks ago, but the measure will now return to the lower chamber due to some changes made to the bill in the Senate Judiciary Committee. According to legislative rules both bodies must approve the bill with the exact same wording. If that happens, then the bill will head to Governor Michelle Grisham for her signature.

The Health Care Freedom Act simply prohibits public bodies, including local municipalities, form denying, restricting, or discriminating against an individual’s right to use or refuse reproductive or gender-affirming care.

The ACLU of New Mexico of tweeted after the passage by the state senate; “In New Mexico, we stand firm in our values of respect and understanding. Everybody should have the freedom to access the abortion care they need without fear of arrest, interrogation, or criminalization.

Trans and non-binary New Mexicans all deserve to live safe and healthy lives, regardless of their zip code. Protecting gender-affirming care, so trans and non-binary individuals are respected, affirmed, and accepted is life-saving.”

CBS affiliate KRQE 13 reported;

As the bill hit the Senate floor Tuesday afternoon, lawmakers on both sides shared extensive opinions and heated debate about the legislation ahead of a vote. The bill passed the House on a 38-to-31 vote two weeks earlier with no Republican votes in favor and six Democrats voting against the bill.

During Tuesday’s debate, Sen. Katy M. Duhigg (D-Bernalillo & Sandoval) explained that the bill doesn’t require doctors to do anything outside the care they already give. “All this law does is it says that a public body can’t block access to that care. It does not require that a provider affirmatively provide it,” Duhigg explained.

“What this bill does is it ensures that local governments can’t block access to that [reproductive or gender-affirming] care,” Duhigg added during the discussion.

The bill would ensure similar protections for people seeking gender-affirming care specifically defined that as: “psychological, behavioral, surgical, pharmaceutical and medical care, services and supplies provided to support a person’s gender identity.” That includes treatments like prescribing puberty-related drugs among many other services.

Sen. William E. Sharer (R-San Juan) tried to amend the bill on the subject of abortion telling his Senate colleagues that the term “perinatal” needed to be removed from the bill, in which the language of the measure states the “perinatal” care is a type of reproductive health care.

“That’s not an abortion. That is also not women’s healthcare,” Sharer said. “That is infanticide.” KRQE noted that quoting the Bible to add emphasis to his point, Sharer stood firm in his belief that the bill would allow infanticide if passed. His amendment to remove “perinatal” ultimately failed.

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New Mexico

SOGI data collection ordered by New Mexico Governor Lujan Grisham

To address inequities that LGBTQ+ New Mexicans experience in interactions with state government, we must have info about where those occur



New Mexico State Capitol Building (Photo Credit: State of New Mexico)

SANTA FE – New Mexico Democratic Governor Lujan Grisham issued an Executive Order for State Agencies and Departments to begin collecting Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Data Monday. 

Grisham’s order will instruct State Agencies and Departments to ask questions about Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity on forms and applications when other demographic data is collected. 

For decades Human Services and Health Department offices and staff have been collecting demographic information to help identify, and bridge gaps in services for New Mexicans who experience inequities.  This data has helped to identify and address disparities in health and education based on age, race, and gender.

“If we want to solve a problem, we first need information about what’s causing it,” said Governor Grisham. “If we are to address inequities that LGBTQ+ New Mexicans experience in their interactions with state government, we must first have the information about where those breakdowns are occurring. This voluntary mechanism for demographic analysis is a tool the state of New Mexico can and will use to improve its service to traditionally underserved New Mexicans. I’m proud to have the chance to initiate that process.” 

Out Lesbian New Mexico State Senator Carrie Hamblen, (D) and State Representative Brittney Barreras, (I-D12) championed legislation during the 2021 session, SB 316, which had passed through to the House from the Senate but had not received a vote prior to the end of the session. Governor Lujan Grisham took then undertook the Executive action until the measure is passed by the legislature.

“Including the demographic information for the LGBTQ+ community on all state forms demonstrates an acknowledgement of our community,” said Senator Hamblen. “I’m grateful this executive order will put into place the representation that is overdue and to start compiling necessary data that will be used to determine resources and services that are desperately needed and deserved.”

“I’m honored to have worked on this policy with Equality New Mexico and Senator Hamblen this last session,” said Rep. Barreras. “By finally collecting this data we will have the tools to bridge gaps in services for our LGBTQ siblings across the state.”

“We are beyond grateful to Senator Hamblen for championing this issue in the previous session, and appreciative to Governor Lujan Grisham for taking Executive action rather than waiting another year for the Legislature.” said Marshall Martinez, Executive Director of Equality New Mexico.  “Not only is New Mexico leading the nation with this executive action, but we are finally taking a step to true equity for LGBTQ New Mexicans, starting with the data needed to create better policy.”

Under the order, information that is voluntarily provided about sexual orientation and gender identity may only be used for demographic analysis, coordination of care, quality improvement of government services, conducting research and guiding policy and funding decisions. Protections about individual identification are likewise written into the order, as well.

A spokesperson for Equality New Mexico noted that the New Mexico Department of Health has been asking questions about Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity for decades, in the context of STI and HIV Prevention and Treatment. 

“Asking these questions in other contexts also says to Queer to and Trans New Mexicans that we honor and affirm their identities, not only as it relates to our sexual activity but in the context of our whole lives.  Being a member of the LGBTQ Community is an identity, and it doesn’t just exist in certain situations, it’s beyond time for New Mexico to honor our identities in the multiple facets of our lives; beyond time we collect these data – so we can create better policies and help LGBTQ New Mexicans thrive.”

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