A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

General Assembly approves bill banning gender transition services on minors, goes to Governor

By Tom Latek
Kentucky Today

While opponents made impassioned pleas to defeat the legislation, the Kentucky General Assembly on Thursday approved a measure that would ban gender transition services to anyone who is under the age of 18.

Although earlier legislation was not approved, including House Bill 470, the provisions of that bill were approved to be inserted into Senate Bill 150 during a hastily called House Education Committee meeting Thursday morning, though a process known as a committee substitute.

David Meade-R-Stanford (LRC photo)

The newly changed measure was presented on the House floor by Speaker Pro Tem David Meade, R-Stanford, and outlined it to the members.

• Districts shall notify parents of any health or mental health services that relate to human sexuality and get parental consent to any services before they are administered.

• The Kentucky Department of Education shall not require or recommend a policy or procedures for the use of pronouns that do not correspond to the biological sex of a student, and will not require school employees to use those pronouns.

• Medical or mental health procedures are exempt in case of emergency or those diagnosed with sexual development disorder.

• Children in grades 5 and below will not have sex education, and those in grades 6 and above must have parental consent for sex education.

• School districts shall develop a policy for the use of restrooms, locker rooms and shower rooms, under provisions of the bill.

• No healthcare provider shall perform surgery on a minor, nor administer puberty blockers or hormones for the purpose of changing their sex. Violators shall have their license revoked after hearings before their regulatory board.  However, they can aid in de-transition.

Rep. Keturah Herron, D-Louisville, said, “This is a bill that is reprehensible to the LGBTQ community.  As a Black queer woman, the first openly elected LGBTQ individual in this body, the language in this bill is disrespectful, has been very harmful, and very sickening.”

Meade, in speaking in favor of the bill, pointed to a recent statewide poll with the question, “Do you believe it should be against the law for parents to provide a minor with prescriptions or surgery to affirm their chosen gender?”

The results, according to Meade, “Sixty-six percent of Kentuckians said it should be. Almost 90 percent of Republicans said it should be. Sixty-four percent of independents, and 57 percent of moderate Democrats said it should be. That’s what the people of Kentucky are asking us to do.”

Opponents were livid over the measure passing.

“This is absolute, willful, intentional hate. Hate for a small group of people that are the weakest and the most vulnerable among us,” said Democratic Sen. Karen Berg.

The bill’s supporters say they are trying to protect children from undertaking gender-affirming treatments that they might later regret as adults.

“We’re talking about removing healthy body parts that you cannot put back on,” Republican Sen. Lindsey Tichenor said in supporting the bill. “I’ve seen the pictures. It’s horrifying.”

The measure was approved, 75-22, and was sent back to the Senate where they concurred with the House changes, 30-7.

The bill now heads to the governor’s desk, where it is likely that he will veto. It is just as likely that a veto would be overridden by lawmakers, since only a simple majority is required.

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