Republican lawmakers in Kentucky have passed a bill that would prohibit transgender minors from receiving gender-affirming care, misgender students and prevent schools from discussing sexual orientation or gender identity with students of any age. The legislation would also terminate treatment for patients already undergoing such care. Governor Andy Beshear, a Democrat who opposes the measure, could veto it but Republican lawmakers hold a majority and could override his decision. The Trevor Project noted that nearly half of LGBTQ youth in Kentucky seriously considered suicide last year while almost one in four transgender and nonbinary youth made an attempt.
The emotional debate over gender-affirming care for transgender students has become politically charged at a time when legislators across the US are advancing measures to restrict LGBTQ rights. Senate Bill 150 is among the most extreme anti-trans attacks seen in America according to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). It was rushed through after trans Kentuckians begged for their lives during hasty committee hearings on critical healthcare access.
Beshear criticised state legislature members earlier this month for focusing on culture wars issues instead of increasing teacher pay or expanding healthcare provision to residents; he cited polls showing most Kentuckians believe medical decisions about their children should be left up to parents rather than big government intervention: “When it comes to this issue polling doesn’t matter because I believe it’s right,” said Speaker Pro Tempore Rep David Meade (R).
The ACLU stated its readiness to fight against SB150 if enacted into law by challenging its constitutionality via litigation as part of efforts aimed at protecting trans people’s rights nationwide: “SB150 encompasses new laws that are among some of the most extreme anti-trans attacks,” said an ACLU statement.