California State Capitol
Photo: Ruslan Gurzhiy/

Last Tuesday, March 26, members of the City Council unanimously declared Sacramento “a Sanctuary City and place of safety” for transgender individuals.


By adopting the resolution proposed by Councilmember Katie Valenzuela, Sacramento commits to avoiding using city resources to detain individuals in need of gender-affirming care or ensure compliance with discriminatory laws in other jurisdictions.

“This is not a symbolic gesture; this is a binding resolution that is more critical today than it ever has been,” said Councilmember Katie Valenzuela. “I am very proud of our state Legislature for how they have stepped up to pass laws to protect many communities, including our LGBTQ+ community – but it isn’t enough. I am honored to bring forward this resolution to declare the City of Sacramento a sanctuary city for transgender people.”

The members of the City council are actively supported by the incumbent mayor of the capital, Mayor Darrell Steinberg, and his colleagues, stating that they are striving to make Sacramento a place where everyone feels like a welcome guest. “There is nothing more important for people—especially young people — knowing they are loved and accepted for who they are,” Mayor Steinberg said.

“Slavic Sacramento” reached out to David Heitstuman, the chief executive officer of the Sacramento LGBT Community Center, for comments on the adoption of this resolution.

“The unanimous vote of the Sacramento City Council approving the document sends a powerful signal of inclusivity that welcomes and supports trans and non-binary members of our community, regardless of where they come from. The Sacramento LGBT Community Center takes pride in partnering with the city as a service provider and advocate that supports access to affirming healthcare, education, economic opportunities, and cultural affirmation. Feeling safe in the place you call home is most essential for thriving, especially for youth and seniors who might otherwise feel isolated, unwelcome, and hopeless about their future,” said Heitstuman in an interview with “Slavic Sacramento”.

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California state law allows for access to gender-affirming medical care and prohibits insurance exclusions for such care.

Moreover, Senate Bill 107, passed in 2022, protects individuals seeking refuge in the state from prosecution outside the state, preventing law enforcement agencies from engaging in arrests or extraditions related to out-of-state warrants based on laws opposing gender-affirming healthcare in California.

Dozens of community members expressed support for the resolution. Denny Mangers, a longstanding leader in the arts and LGBTQ+ community, was among those who welcomed the decision.

“I am proud that my city has stepped up and is willing to accept the responsibility of providing sanctuary to other Americans.”
Ebony Harper, executive director of California TRANSends and board member of the Transgender Law Center, recounted her traumatic teenage years and said she had been working to create a more supportive environment for transgender youth.

“People act like children can’t make their own decisions. We did. We left home because home was abusive, and we formed our own communities. I advocate so there won’t be any other Ebonys like that,” said Ebony Harper.

Dr. Corrine McIntosh Sako, a licensed psychologist and public health advocate, says that family and societal non-acceptance can lead to catastrophic consequences for adolescent health.

“Forty-one percent of LGBTQ young people seriously considered committing suicide in the past year. And the rates for those who are transgender, nonbinary, and people of color are higher than their peers,” she said.

Vitaly Ataev Troshin,
California Local News Fellowship