FRANKFORT, Ky: Republican lawmakers in Kentucky overrode the Democratic governor’s veto of a bill on Wednesday that would have restricted access to gender-affirming medical care. They limited the use of bathrooms for young transgender people.
On the next-to-last day of this year’s legislative session, the votes to override Governor Andy Beshear’s veto were lopsided in both legislative chambers, where the Republican holds supermajorities.
As tempers flared, some bill opponents sitting in the House gallery were ejected and taken into custody after their repeated chants reverberated throughout the room. As they waited to be removed from the Capitol, the demonstrators, who had their wrists chained, screamed, “There are more of us not here.” Kentucky State Police did not immediately disclose the number of arrests and the charges against them.
With Beshear’s veto receiving GOP criticism as he runs for re-election to a second term, the argument will probably continue into this year’s gubernatorial campaign. A legal dispute is also developing. The American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky restated its intention to “take this issue to the courts” to protect young transgender people’s access to healthcare.
“While we lost the legislative struggle, our setback is just temporary. Chris Hartman, executive director of the LGBTQ+ advocacy group Fairness Campaign, declared, “We won’t lose in court.
David Walls, executive director of The Family Foundation, applauded the veto override and stated that the legislation “aligns policy with the truth that every kid is created as a male or female and deserves to be loved, treated with dignity, and accepted for who they actually are.”
Before lawmakers resumed discussing the transgender bill after a lengthy vacation, activists from opposing sides of the passionate debate met in the statehouse to make conflicting appeals.
Trans adolescent Sun Pacyga held up a banner during a rally attended by hundreds of transgender rights activists that gave a dismal assessment of the Republican plan. “Our blood is on your hands,” the sign declared.
The 17-year-old student expressed a common worry among the bill’s detractors that the limits will boost teen suicides: “I fear trans kids will die because of that if it passes, the restricted access to gender-affirming health care.”
To overcome Beshear’s veto, the Senate voted 29-8. With a vote of 76-23, the House completed the override a short while later.
Afterward, Republican House Speaker David Osborne claimed that state police decided to remove and detain demonstrators.
They were given numerous opportunities to quiet their chanting or leave freely, as I have been informed since then. Sadly, it reached that level, Osborne added.
The opposition to the law presented it as a civil rights struggle. Kentucky “will be on the wrong side of history by passing the bill,” according to Democratic Rep. Sarah Stalker.
Supporters of the bill gathered to argue that it shields trans youngsters from gender-affirming medical procedures they might regret as adults. But according to research, such regret is uncommon.
Republican Representative Shane Baker said at a gathering that “we cannot allow individuals to continue down the route of fantasy, where they’re going to wind up 10, 20, 30 years down the line and find themselves miserable from mistakes that they made when they were young.”
The legislation in Kentucky is a result of a national movement. This year, state legislators approved numerous laws that severely restrict the rights of LGBTQ+ persons, from measures banning gender-affirming care to those targeting trans athletes and drag performers.
At least ten states, including Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee, Utah, and South Dakota, have passed legislation limiting or outlawing gender-affirming care for kids. The West Virginia Republican governor is debating a proposed ban. Over two dozen states are debating legislation this year to restrict or deny care, and federal judges have stopped the enforcement of laws in Alabama and Arkansas.
The passionate comments made at demonstrations were reflected in the discussion among Kentucky’s politicians.
Democratic Senator Karen Berg opposed the measure, claiming it “denies families, their physicians, and their therapists the opportunity to make medically informed decisions for their families.”
The day before her son Henry Berg-Brousseau passed away at 24, Berg read what he had written supporting transgender rights. His mother said that suicide was to blame.
Sen. Robby Mills, a Republican, stated that he backed the legislation because he thought that giving young people under 18 puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones to change their look was harmful to their health.
Major medical associations support transgender medical treatments, which have been around in the United States for a while.
The fact that “parents and kids should have trust that bathrooms in their school will only be used by the same biological sex” was another factor cited by Mills as justification for his support.
The Kentucky law will outlaw care that is gender-affirming for children. It will also make it illegal for anyone under 18 to undergo gender reassignment surgery, take hormones or puberty-blocking medications, or get inpatient or outpatient gender-affirming hospital care.
Children who are already taking hormone therapy or puberty blockers will require a “detransition” period, which the doctors will determine. If removing them from the treatment immediately could endanger the child, they could continue providing care as they reduce the child’s dosage.
The legislation’s provisions about medical care that is gender-affirming will go into effect in about three months.
A pupil of any age cannot discuss their sexual orientation or gender identity in school under the proposed legislation. Additionally, it mandates that school districts create bathroom rules that, “at a minimum,” prevent transgender youth from using the restroom that corresponds to their gender identification.
Additionally, it requires schools to warn parents when courses about human sexuality will be taught and permit teachers to decline to use transgender pupils’ pronouns when referring to them.
Hazel Hardesty, a different trans adolescent, stated that the eventual loss of gender-affirming medical therapy would result in “my male puberty continuing,” which would “create a lot of emotional distress.”
In an interview at a rally, the 16-year-old remarked, “People don’t realize how it feels.” “Every day, your body is a little bit further away from what feels like you when you’re going through the wrong puberty. Over time, you finally stop even recognizing yourself in the mirror.