Kentucky lawmakers pass ban on youth gender-affirming care
(CNN) Republican lawmakers in Kentucky have passed a bill that would bar transgender minors from receiving gender-specific care, allow educators to misgender students and would not allow schools to discuss sexual orientation or gender identity with students of any age.
The bill, if enacted, would ban gender-affirming care for minors, such as surgical procedures or the use of certain hormones, and calls on health care providers to stop or set a time limit on terminated treatment for patients already undergoing such care.
The emotional debate over gender-affirming care for transgender students has become a political flashpoint — especially among conservatives — at a time when lawmakers across the country are advancing measures to limit LGBTQ rights.
Senate Bill 150 has been delivered to the office of Gov. Andy Beshear, a Democrat who has voiced his opposition to the measure. Republican lawmakers, however, hold the majority and can override a veto by the governor.
Beshear, at a news conference earlier this month, chided the state legislature for focusing on the culture wars issue and challenged them to work on raising teacher pay and expanding health care for residents.
Beshear cited polls showing that most Kentuckians believe that medical decisions for their children should be left up to their parents and families.
“What some legislation is doing here in Frankfort is taking that away and saying, ‘No, big government is going to tell you what’s medically best for your kids.’ As a parent, I think that it’s wrong,” Beshear said on March 2.
“When it comes to this issue, the poll doesn’t matter to me because I believe it’s the right thing to do,” said Speaker Pro Tempore Rep. David Meade (R). “If we’re going to protect children, we have to make sure that surgery or drugs that completely change their lives and change their bodies shouldn’t be allowed until they’re adults who can choose it for themselves. That’s the right to do for these children”.
The Kentucky branch of the American Civil Liberties Union released a statement saying the legislation “was rushed to the House floor after a rushed committee hearing where trans Kentuckians begged and pleaded for their lives and access to critical care for young people trans”.
“SB150 includes a slew of new laws that are among the most extreme anti-trans attacks in the United States,” the ACLU said in a statement. The Kentucky ACLU said it “stands ready” to fight the ban in court if it becomes law.
The Trevor Project, a suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for LGBTQ youth, noted the prevalence of suicide deaths among LGBTQ youth.
“It’s appalling to see Kentucky lawmakers work so hastily on dangerous legislation that will only put LGBTQ Kentucky youth at risk,” said Troy Stevenson, director of state advocacy campaigns for The Trevor Project. “In the past year, nearly half of LGBTQ youth in Kentucky seriously considered suicide — alarmingly, nearly 1 in 4 transgender and nonbinary youth in the state made a suicide attempt. youth mental health crisis.”
CNN’s Ray Sanchez contributed to this report.