Furious that North Carolina approved legislation to ban transgender people from using public bathrooms that aligned with their gender identity, Democratic leaders in San Francisco and the California State Capitol quickly moved in 2016 to ban their employees from traveling to states deemed hostile to L.G.B.T.Q.
communities. Seven years later, Republican-led states have moved well beyond bathrooms. Eleven states this year alone have prohibited medical treatment for gender transitions, known as gender-affirming care, and conservative lawmakers are widely proposing bills restricting transgender rights as they see opportunities to win voter support.
States also have been battling hard over access to abortion ever since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last year. With tensions rarely higher, it may seem counterintuitive for Democratic leaders in California to repeal their boycotts of Republican-led states.
But San Francisco supervisors did just that on Tuesday, and state lawmakers are considering a similar move later this year. They say the bans are having little impact — as shown by the flurry of transgender legislation being passed — and have mostly hurt their own government operations in California. “Ultimately, the strategy did fail,” said Scott Wiener, a state senator who spearheaded San Francisco’s ban in 2016 when he served on the city’s board of supervisors. “Everyone is deeply concerned about what’s happening in more and more red states, and people want the most effective strategies for pushing back.” On Tuesday, San Francisco — a bastion of gay and transgender inclusion — repealed its boycott, which had expanded to encompass 30 states that had passed laws targeting L.G.B.T.Q.