Tennessee passes first-of-its-kind law attacking trans kids

Author: Mira Lazine

In its latest attack on transgender youth, lawmakers in Tennessee passed a bill to stop the nonexistent problem of adults kidnapping kids and taking them to other states for gender-affirming care.

The bill passed along party lines 63-16 in the Tennessee House of Representatives and previously passed the state’s Senate 25-4. This would be the first state to pass a law of this kind, according to the Associated Press.

S.B. 2782, is headed to the governor’s desk. Gov. Bill Lee (R) is expected to pass the legislation, as he previously advanced anti-LGBTQ+ bills, such as one that would allow LGBTQ+ foster children to be placed with foster parents who are opposed to LGBTQ+ rights.

It was introduced by state Sen. Janice Bowling (R), who has been introducing anti-trans legislation since at least 2020, and contains exemptions for parents, guardians, those with the consent of parents and guardians, and common carriers like bus drivers, airline pilots, and ride share app drivers.

An earlier version of S.B. 2782 reportedly had criminal penalties for adults; however, this was removed in committee.

LGBTQ+ advocacy groups are now working to make it clear that the law doesn’t ban parents from taking their own kids out of state for gender-affirming care, which many have been doing since the state passed its ban on gender-affirming care.

“OUTMemphis has provided navigation assistance for families seeking gender-affirming care for youth since the ban on care for minors passed last year,” said Molly Quinn, executive director of OUTMemphis. “Above all, we want these families to know help is available and that you don’t have to fear leaving the state to get your child the care that they need.” 

LGBTQ+ organizations are currently looking to assist families as they navigate the confusion of this bill and whether they can get their children gender-affirming care. OUTMemphis and Campaign for Southern Equality released a joint statement emphasizing that the families of transgender children can still seek out gender-affirming care.

“It’s obvious that the Tennessee legislature is trying to intimidate families of transgender youth – piling additional fear onto the mountain of financial and logistical burdens that parents are grappling with in the face of the existing healthcare ban in Tennessee,” said Adam Polaski, Communications & Political Director of the Campaign for Southern Equality. “But we want to be clear: This development does not block parents from traveling with their child out of state to access the healthcare they need and deserve.”

This type of legislation comes as a reaction to conspiracies that there is a ploy from transgender adults to kidnap kids and “turn” them transgender. A recent bill in Maine made headlines in the right-wing press for supposedly being a “transgender trafficking” bill.

A recent bill in Maine made headlines in the right-wing press for supposedly being a “transgender trafficking” bill. The bill, L.D. 1735, makes Maine a safe state for trans people, protecting refugees from other states. Anti-trans advocates like Chaya Raichik (of Libs of TikTok) and Riley Gaines opposed this, arguing that it promoted the alleged kidnapping and trafficking of youth across state lines to give them gender-affirming surgery, something transgender youth almost never get.

This culture of fear about children transitioning behind their parents’ backs has been promoted by anti-LGBTQ+ Republicans like Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), who alleged that there are states that want to take kids away from their parents and make them transition.

There is no evidence to support any of these assertions.

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Actual Story on LGBTQ Nation
Author: Mira Lazine

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