LEXINGTON, Ky. — Gender transition care for minors, teachers being required to use a student’s preferred pronouns and stark limits on LGBTQ discussion in schools are now all banned under Kentucky law.
Both chambers of the General Assembly overturned Gov. Beshear’s veto of Senate Bill 150 Wednesday along party lines. The bill has caused controversy among Kentuckians.
“Hateful” and “anti-LGBT” are a few ways opponents of SB 150 describe it.
“It is mean-spirited, it has nothing to do with the protection of children and everything to do with the exploitation of fear,” said Rebecca Blankenship, executive director of Ban Conversion Therapy Kentucky.
The bill was vetoed by Gov. Beshear, but a GOP supermajority in both chambers overturned the veto with ease. One of the main points of the bill, now a law, was making gender transition services for people under 18 illegal.
“Unquestionably, suicide rates will go up as a result of this legislation. Gender affirming care in trans youth has shown to reduce suicidality by as much as 73% for trans youth,” Blankenship said.
However, supporters of the bill say it prevents young people from making a decision they may regret later in life.
“I resent the argument that because you don’t agree that you hate, that’s not what this is about,” said State Senator Danny Carroll during readings of the bill.
Natalia Jolie, a former Miss Trans Kentucky, says she began transitioning at 23 years old.
“My only regret with my transition is that I was not able to start transitioning before I hit puberty and before I had to experience all of the negative connotations that were given to me by not being the gender I was assigned at birth,” Jolie said.
She says for most, regretting transitioning genders is extremely rare.
“For the vast majority of trans people, this is a thing that helps us. And I’m sorry for any trans person who’s undergone a gender affirming procedure and had to have a second thought about it,” Jolie said.
The law also limits discussions on LGBTQ issues in schools from kindergarten through grade 12. School personnel would also not be required to use pronouns that don’t conform to a student’s biological sex.
“God gave us our children and we should have the right and we do have the responsibility to make sure they are taught the things we want them taught and not the things we don’t want them taught. We should have a say in their lives,” said State Rep. Josh Calloway.
Jolie said her concern is for trans youth becoming more of a target for bullying.
“Kids are supposed to be nurtured and taught from a young age to be accepting and care for everyone. Even for the Christian people, it says love your neighbor as yourself,” Jolie said.
Jolie works now at LGBTQ friendly Open Doors Counseling in Lexington, and has started a Kentucky trans support group called Kentucky Transcendence.
“It is for anyone who loves trans people, who is gender non-conforming or trans-identified, any person is welcome to be at these meetings,” Jolie said.
She says those sessions begin April 4 for anyone coping with the new legislation.
SB 150 will also require children in schools to use the bathroom that aligns with their birth sex, not their identifying gender.