Minnesota Becomes Sanctuary State

State pledges protection for abortion, gender care

Kate Rekas, Opinions Editor

Recently, around the United States, there have been increasing restrictions on both abortion and LGBTQ+ health service accessibility. Some states, including Washington, California, New York, Vermont, and Hawaii, have joined Minnesota in becoming sanctuary states, meaning that these states have implemented laws preventing bans on gender-affirming care and access to safe abortion, no matter the term of the pregnancy. The bans on abortion and gender-affirming healthcare make it so that healthcare providers, the patients themselves, and a minor patient’s guardian, can be arrested if they in any way help a patient to receive any abortion or gender-affirming healthcare. 

Of all the sanctuary states, Minnesota is the only state in the midwest, prompting surges of people to travel here from across the country to receive the healthcare they need. Governor Tim Walz has been instrumental in these protective legislations and has also taken action to ban conversion therapy. 

After speaking with Spanish teacher and LGBTQ+ support and advocacy coordinator JJ Kahle about how these issues impact our community, it became apparent that our school is a sort of sanctuary within our sanctuary state, and is very committed to supporting students who identify as LGBTQ+. Kahle has been at Blake since 1998 and was instrumental in the introduction of the GSA in 1999. The GSA, or Gender and Sexuality Alliance is a group for LGBTQ+ students, allowing for community and shared experience. The GSA led to a parent support group for parents of LGBTQ+ students, a GSA at the middle school, LGBTQ+ education, and more conversation about ways to support LQBTQ+ students. 

Kahle also spoke about Blake the school’s introduction of LGBTQ+ curriculum in the early 2000s, where first graders learned about different types of families, including those with two mothers or two fathers. A handful of parents were unhappy about the curriculum change and threatened to pull their children from the school if the curriculum was not changed but the Head of School at the time, John Goula, refused to change the curriculum and the families left.  

While our community seems to be a safe space within the sanctuary state, Kahle makes clear that there is still much more work to be done, saying, “We have to continue to be brave.”