Minnesota's gender-affirming laws act as magnet to transgender population and their families

Minnesota’s laws related to the transgender population are working as a magnet for people and families from less friendly states, especially in the South.

Several of them told us they’ve already moved here or are planning to come soon because they feel vilified and abandoned by states where they’ve spent their entire lives.

A simple Reddit request for Twin Cities neighborhood recommendations landed Rylie Rogers a lot of affirmation.

It’s often the opposite in her native Arkansas.

"It just seems like we were attacked out of nowhere," Rogers said. "And it’s not getting any better."

Rogers is transgender and she’s afraid her state will go further than its recent school bathroom law and join the ranks of states trying to ban gender-affirming care.

She and her wife decided they’ll move to Minnesota after seeing Gov. Tim Walz sign an executive order supporting that care here.

The Crawford family left Texas for the Twin Cities last year after that state’s governor went the opposite direction — ordering child protective services to investigate parents for child abuse if they let their kids get gender-affirming care.

"We looked at the Transgender Law Center’s map of the legal status of every state in the country," said Heather Crawford, who moved to Minnesota in August.

Her son Cass Crawford suffers from depression, anxiety, and gender dysphoria and has needed inpatient psychological treatment.

A 2022 Trevor Project survey found more than half of trans teens seriously consider suicide and the rates are higher in states where lawmakers aggressively pursue anti-trans legislation, like Texas.

So Cass was on board when his parents decided they needed to leave the only state where they’ve lived.

"I thought it would be OK to have a new start and stuff," he said. "And then as it got close to us actually moving, my mental health started to decline again."

He’s had a hard time leaving behind a supportive friend group and dealing with cold weather, but he knows this is a safer situation for his family right now.

And this month, he told the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services he’ll always carry a grudge.

"I want to like Minnesota," Cass told them at a March 10 public hearing. "It’s a beautiful state that does a lot to protect trans children. But I can’t forget what Texas did to me, what you did to me."

Also among the reasons these folks are choosing Minnesota is the economy and jobs situation, the fact that there are big cities, and the lack of earthquakes.