Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee, a Republican, on Thursday signed two bills targeting LGBTQ+ people in the state — one for It prohibits gender-affirming health care Minors and other to Prohibits pulling operations Minors may be exposed and harmed.
The ban on gender-affirming care, effective July 1, bars trans youth who have not yet sought puberty blockers or hormone therapy to receive such treatments – many trans people are critical to offset the harmful effects of gender dysphoria. Trans youth currently receiving care or who entered care before July 1 will continue to receive gender confirmation services in Tennessee through March 31, 2024. The law allows the Attorney General cool Up to $25,000 per violation for health care providers and to take action against “unknowing violators.”
Lambda Legal, the ACLU and the ACLU of Tennessee have vowed to sue the state over the ban. While no such lawsuit has been announced in response to the tow ban, the ACLU of Tennessee said its organization will. Challenging If the performance is used to “punish a drag performer or shut down a family-friendly LGBTQ event.
Campaign for Southern Equality and LGBTQ+ Inclusion Tennessee says families should see their current provider to discuss gender-affirming care options as soon as possible. If a trans child is already on track to receive care, the groups recommend starting the process before July 1 and filling existing prescriptions.
Elizabeth Knight, a 17-year-old transgender girl living in Montgomery County, Tennessee, said she spoke with her family, friends who are currently in treatment and friends who are worried about their future.
“They tell me they have to find another way,” she said. She said some of her friends order hormone therapy online and hope they can get care that way. In the year Knight, who stepped out into her social circle in 2020, is waiting until she’s 18 to start hormone therapy for a few reasons — that the process at Vanderbilt University Medical Center takes longer than practical, and that her father doesn’t support her. Starting hormones as a small child.
Knight, for her part, is fortunate to have a support system, but she’s faced mental pressure from the proliferation of anti-trans bills and hostile politics over the past few years, planning her college future and coming out herself.
“I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety for the past few years because of this,” Knight said. I would say it was the main reason.
Sruti Swaminathan, Lambda’s legal staff attorney and lead attorney for the proposed lawsuit against the Gender Care ban, said it was “terrible” that the group contacted plaintiffs throughout the process. Families are making plans for how to manage their children’s care until next March. While leaving the region is generally seen as a last resort, they will do so if necessary.
In the upcoming lawsuit, Swaminathan and ACLU attorneys plan to argue that the gender-affirming care ban is unconstitutional in violation of the 14th Amendment’s equal protection and due process clauses. Arkansas and other states.
Four states have passed gender-bending bills into law this year — Utah, South Dakota, Mississippi, and now Tennessee, which is the first state to criminalize drag performances this year.
The drag ban will take effect on April 1. Advocates and legal experts have stressed that the bill’s scope is limited, as many trans people have reacted with dismay that it would allow them to live openly in Tennessee without policing their gender expression. or approach.
Chase Strangio, who serves as counsel to the Arkansas youth care ban as well as other legal challenges at the American Civil Liberties Union, stressed the importance of not overstating the scope of Tennessee’s drag ban.
“It is incorrect to say that this bill bans all drag and bans trans in public,” Strangio said on Instagram. Real last week. Improved language Mathematics Prohibits “adult cabaret entertainment” that is harmful to minors in public or in a place where a minor is present. While the bill targets “male or female impersonators,” the entertainment in question must be harmful to minors — meaning it shows nudity, sexual content, excessive violence or violence, or is “indecently offensive.”
“That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be worried about the way law enforcement can drag people out in public and turn people around. We should be worried about this already,” he said. “That said, this bill has a very unique set of definitions.”
Stella Yarborough, legal director of the ACLU of Tennessee at A press release While the law makes it illegal to do drag in the state, drag operations are not inherently obscene. Drag performances are protected by the First Amendment, the organization said.
“However, we are concerned that public officials could easily abuse this law by basing their personal views on what they believe is appropriate, curtailing limited free speech and sending a message to LGBTQ Tennesseans that they are not welcome in our state. Yarbrough said.
For Knight, the heightened rhetoric against transgender people in her state — and watching the bills lawmakers introduce — are signs of an intensified push for trans rights.
“The overall climate in Tennessee, in terms of the political and social climate, is becoming more extreme,” she said. “Living as a transgender person in Tennessee is becoming very scary, even as someone who is not affected by most of these laws.”
This story was originally published in March 3, 2023 by 19th.