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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

Call to ban LGBTQ+ books in a New Mexico city’s library backfires

Word spread MassResistance activists were planning on attending the library board meeting, progressive groups galvanized into action



Esther Bone Memorial Library, 950 Pinetree Road SE, Rio Rancho, NM (Photo Credit: Rio Rancho Public Libraries,)

RIO RANCHO, N.M. – A months long effort by the New Mexico Chapter of Waltham, Massachusetts-based MassResistance, designated an anti-LGBT hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, to get LGBTQ+ books banned from Rio Rancho Public Libraries was met with significant pushback from local residents earlier this month.

Last April, the group, which links LGBTQ+ people with pedophilia, zoophilia, beastiality and claims that suicide prevention programs aimed at LGBTQ+ youth were created by homosexual activists to normalize and “lure” children into homosexuality, sought to have several titles removed from the local library system.

Activists from New Mexico Mass Resistance on social media posts urged the removal of what the group labeled as pornography from Rio Rancho “taxpayer-funded public libraries.”

Screenshot from New Mexico Mass Resistance group’s social media.

Some of the titles targeted by the anti-LGBTQ+ hate group included, “This Book is Gay” by James Dawson, which New Mexico Mass Resistance described as a “how-to” book for “depraved, unsafe sexual perversions.”

Another targeted book, “Gender Queer” by Maia Kobabe, drew the group’s ire for [having] “very explicit drawings of teens having homosexual sex with each other, including a boy sucking on another boy’s penis… [A main character is a girl trying to be a boy, so it’s transgender propaganda as well].” 

The semi-autobiographical graphic novel “​​Flamer” by Mike Curato, was described by the hate group activists as: “Some boys were at scout camp and they were all in a tent and with their pants pulled down. Another boy comes in and they hand him a bottle. They tell him that they’ve all masturbated into that bottle, and if he can’t do it right now in front of them, then he has to drink it.”

The group wrote in a social media post: “All of the books listed above (and hundreds of similar books) can be checked out by children (defined as age 18 and below) from the Rio Rancho Public Library. The purchase of the books has been funded by ‘Quality of Life’ General Obligation Bonds approved by Sandoval County voters. These books should not be allowed in our library. This is NOT a First Amendment Freedom of Speech issue or ‘Book Banning.’ According to New Mexico Statues Chapter 30-37-2 Sexual exploitation of children, possession of this obscene material is a fourth degree Felony.” 

Albuquerque’s ABC News affiliate KOAT-TV/ ABC 7 reached out to Mass Resistance and received this statement:

“New Mexico MassResistance is not seeking to ban books, but ban pornography. Obscene materials depicting explicit sexual acts should not be available to children in public libraries and schools.

“New Mexico MassResistance activists have never disrupted any public meeting, but LGBT activists have harassed and bullied our members.”

KOAT ABC 7 reporting on a June meeting of the library board noted: State Rep. Kathlene Cates, (D-District 44), was a witness to the meeting.

According to Cates, one member of a conservative group known as Mass Resistance was seen speaking out for the book bans.

“He was the only person that spoke to ban books. My concern is that this group and that individual, specifically, has threatened librarians, has threatened our system for that,” said Rep. Cates.

Cates feels like they’re overstepping their boundaries on how parents should parent their kids and even points to the current policies in place by the library.

“We have a system in place where you can add or ask to remove books. There is already a system in place where if you’re under 18, there is identification and parent notification, parent approval, and checking out books,” said Rep. Cates.

On Monday, August 14, a large audience gathered for the Rio Rancho library board meeting.
(Photo Credit: Democratic Party of New Mexico LGBTQ+ Caucus/Richard E Cooley) 

After the word spread that New Mexico MassResistance activists were planning on attending the August 14 library board meeting, several progressive groups galvanized into action on social media urging their supporters to attend and counter the push to ban LGBTQ+ books.

The Rio Rancho Observer newspaper and NBC affiliate KOB 4 Albuquerque reported that the meeting had a sizable audience, and the overwhelming majority came opposed to any kind of book banning.

Katrina DeLima Garcia Spillman speaking to the Rio Rancho Library Board, August 14. (Photo by Emilio Romero)

Among the speakers was queer educator Katrina DeLima Garcia Spillman, who told the Rio Rancho Library Board:

“I am a Queer educator in Albuquerque and a Safe Zone coordinator at my school providing a safe space in my classroom for any student or staff that need it. As an educator, the most important aspect of my classroom is that representation matters. All faces, all cultures, all genders, all relationship orientations, EVERY CHILD deserves to see themselves and their families represented in my room.

This means access to diverse literature. That is no less important in any other public sphere, ESPECIALLY a public library. What is the true goal of book bans and limiting access to controversial books? It is often presented as a means to “protect the children.” But which children? Our trans children? Our children of color? Our Muslim and Pagan children? Our disabled children?

If we limit access to one type of literature, where does it end? As a public entity, this library board must ensure that that ALL CITIZENS are represented and allowing one angry group to strip the protection and ideals from everyone else just brings us closer to a future of ignorance and increased bigotry.”

Nearly every speaker was in alliance with Spillman in opposition to a ban on LGBTQ+ literature.

The Rio Rancho Observer reported that Michael Jackovich, chapter leader of the local Mass Resistance group, says he and the group never intended to go to the meeting.

“It has come to my attention that the Democratic Party of Sandoval County (DPSC) is spreading disinformation regarding New Mexico Mass Resistance (NMMR),” he told the Observer.

Jackovich said that an email sent by the Democratic Party of Sandoval County was a “fabrication.” The email stated that the DPSC had received notice that the Mass Resistance group planned to go to the board meeting on Aug. 14 and then asked members of DPSC to show up at the next meeting to show support for the library and the books.

KOB 4 reported: “We saw this debate play out during a Rio Rancho city council meeting in April. The city has a formal process to request the removal of books from public libraries. 

People can simply fill out a “request for reconsideration” form to have the book reviewed and possibly removed. But to this very day:

“We have not had a single one of those requests in this calendar year. We have not seen a single one,” said Jason Shoup, a Rio Rancho director of Library and Information Services.

Local media outlets have also reported that last Spring the City of Rio Rancho passed a resolution saying it stands by any decision the library makes regarding what’s in its collection. 

In a separate op-ed, Greg Bennett, Vice Chair Aleta “Tweety” Suazo, Vice Chair Alexandria Piland, Chair Democratic Party of Sandoval County wrote:

“Banning LGBTQ+ books has the real world consequence of hurting LGBTQ+ children, contributing to depression and suicide. It is appalling that adults who fully know these consequences would encourage actions that inflict harm on children, but that is what Mass Resistance is doing.

We are grateful to the Rio Rancho City Council, Library Board, and librarians for ensuring children have access to LGBTQ+ books and for upholding the values of diversity, inclusion, tolerance, and respect—values required for a healthy democracy.

Any time we receive word that the freedoms of Sandoval County citizens will be infringed upon or children potentially harmed, we will mobilize to defend the people of our county.”

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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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