"This Bill Would Terrorize Transgender Youth in Schools, in Doctor’s Offices, and Even Could Put Them in Danger at Home"
Frankfort, Kentucky – Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization, condemns the Kentucky House for passing Senate Bill 150, a sweeping anti-trans bill that will:
Ban gender affirming care: The bill will prohibit transgender youth from accessing best practice, age-appropriate medical care – care delivered after careful consultation with the young person’s parents and doctors. It would also force doctors to detransition transgender youth who have been receiving – and thriving – under their care plan.
Force teachers to disclose confidential conversations they’ve had with students about their sexual orientation or gender identity to the student’s parents, even if that would put the student in danger at home: This bill will make it more difficult for LGBTQ+ students to seek assistance from trusted adults in school, and could put children in real danger if they are not safe being out at home. The bill also requires teachers and students be allowed to misgender their own pupils and classmates, and prohibits schools from recommending or requiring any policies on pronoun use.
Ban transgender students from using school restrooms and locker rooms that match their gender identity.
The bill now heads to Gov. Andy Beshear’s desk for signature or veto. On the final regular day of session, in a blatant 11th hour attack, extremist Representatives rushed a revised version of the Senate’s bill through the House chamber. In the hastily called House Education Committee, they cut out the potential for additional testimony and did not provide Representatives time and notice to read the new bill before bringing it to the floor.
In response, Cathryn Oakley, HRC’s State Legislative Director and Senior Counsel released the following statement:
“In a desperate and reprehensible move in the final hours of legislative session, extremist Kentucky legislators in both chambers cheated the system and pushed through a dangerous, sweeping and unprecedented bill that assaults transgender and non-binary youth on multiple fronts. This bill would terrorize transgender youth in schools, in doctor’s offices, and even could put them in danger at home. After a session in which constituents repeatedly and forcefully spoke out in opposition to discrimination, the legislature has decided that discrimination is worth suspending the usual legislative process for. These politicians have no place inserting themselves in conversations between doctors, parents, and transgender youth about gender affirming care; they have no place inside a middle school bathroom stall either. And they certainly have no moral authority to insert themselves into matters they know nothing about when they circumvent normal legislative process and refuse to hear the voices of those impacted before they recklessly impose extremely adverse consequences onto a small, vulnerable population of people simply because of disapproval and misunderstanding.
“Let’s be clear: these extremist legislators do not care about passing good public policy. They do not care about abiding by the rules. They do not care that they are harming vulnerable children. And they certainly do not care about parental rights. This is simply a cruel attempt to stigmatize, marginalize and erase the LGBTQ+ community, particularly transgender youth. Shame on them. The Human Rights Campaign strongly condemns the legislature’s actions today and encourages Gov. Beshear to veto this discriminatory bill.”
Chris Hartman, Executive Director of the Fairness Campaign, released the following statement:
“Shame on our commonwealth’s legislature for deploying cheap tricks to attack our trans kids today. The Kentucky General Assembly’s roller-coaster ride on the Anti-Trans Omnibus Bill is a perfect example of what happens when the party of small government runs a measure that couldn’t be a more obvious government overreach. SB 150 will take away parents’ rights, plain and simple. And while the majority caucus struggled to come to consensus on the issue, Kentucky voters were clear that the government has no place in between a parent, their children, and their doctors.
“The majority party has spent more time debating anti-trans laws this session than addressing childhood poverty, housing insecurity, and disaster relief combined. The blood of traumatized transgender children will be on their hands, and they will be judged harshly by history and our future generations. But make no mistake, LGBTQ+ Kentuckians will not back down, will not be forced back into the closet, and will not be erased. We are stronger, more resilient, and more determined than ever before.”
“This is absolute willful, intentional hate for a small group of people who are the weakest and the most vulnerable among us,” said Kentucky Sen. Karen Berg, D-Louisville. “You need to come back to these people and you need to ask them: Why did you get elected? What are you doing here? What was your purpose in choosing to serve? Because if it was to help the least among us, you are failing miserably.”
Sen. Berg is the mother of the late Henry Berg-Brousseau, a transgender employee of the Human Rights Campaign who took his own life at the end of 2022. “This hate building across the country weighed on him,” she said of her son, who spent years advocating for fair treatment of transgender people in Kentucky.
Earlier this week, in emotional testimony, former state representative Jerry Miller, a Republican, opened up about how his young grandchild could be hurt by a bill to ban access to gender-affirming medical care for those under 18. “This bill condemns vulnerable children to an even more difficult life than they’ve already been born into,” Miller told a Senate committee on Tuesday. "Please don’t let a parent’s right to protect their children be collateral damage in the culture wars.”
The bill includes an extreme gender-affirming care ban that will directly place the health, safety and wellbeing of transgender youth in Kentucky at risk. Gender-affirming care is age-appropriate care that is medically necessary for the well-being of many transgender and non-binary people who experience symptoms of gender dysphoria, or distress that results from having one’s gender identity not match their sex assigned at birth. Gender-affirming care is the integration of medical, mental health, and social services. For transgender children, transition is an entirely social process which may include a new name or pronouns, wearing different clothes or styling one’s hair differently. At puberty, doctors may – in consultation with and having the informed consent of the transgender youth and their parents – prescribe reversible medication known as puberty-blockers, which allow a young person to safely reach an age in which they’re truly able to consent to further treatment. Every credible medical organization – representing over 1.3 million doctors in the United States – calls for age-appropriate gender-affirming care for transgender and non-binary people.
So far in 2023, HRC is tracking more than 410 anti-LGBTQ+ bills that have been introduced in statehouses across the country. Approximately 180 of those bills would specifically restrict the rights of transgender people, the highest number of bills targeting transgender people in a single year to date.
This year, HRC is tracking:
More than 100 bills that would prevent trans youth from being able to access age-appropriate, medically-necessary, best-practice health care; five have already become law, in Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi, South Dakota, and Utah,
More bathroom ban bills filed than in any previous year,
More than 80 curriculum censorship bills and 35 anti-drag performance bills.
In a coordinated push led by national anti-LGBTQ+ groups, which deployed vintage discriminatory tropes, politicians in statehouses across the country introduced 315 discriminatory anti-LGBTQ+ bills in 2022 and 29 passed into law. Despite this, fewer than 10% of these efforts succeeded. The majority of the discriminatory bills – 149 bills – targeted the transgender and non-binary community, with the majority targeting children receiving the brunt of discriminatory legislation. By the end of the 2022 legislative session, a record 17 bills attacking transgender and non-binary children passed into law.
Anti-LGBTQ+ legislation in 2022 took several forms, including:
80 bills aimed to prevent transgender youth from playing school sports consistent with their gender identity. 19 states now exclude transgender athletes in school sports.
42 bills to prevent transgender and non-binary youth from receiving life-saving, medically-necessary gender-affirming healthcare. 5 states now restrict access to gender-affirming care.
70 curriculum censorship bills tried to turn back the clock and restrict teachers from discussing LGBTQ+ issues and other marginalized communities in their classrooms. 7 passed into law.
The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ+ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.
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