Kentucky legislature overrides Democratic governor’s veto of transgender youth bill

Transgender Health Kentucky
Supporters of Senate bill 150, known as the Transgender Health Bill gather in the Rotunda of the Kentucky State Capitol as protesters look on from the balcony, Wednesday, March 29, 2023, in Frankfort, Ky. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley) Timothy D. Easley/AP

Kentucky legislature overrides Democratic governor’s veto of transgender youth bill

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The Kentucky legislature voted to override their Democratic governor’s veto of a sweeping bill regarding transgender issues.

SB 150 addresses a number of issues related to transgender youth, including bathroom use, surgeries, and pronoun usage at school. The bill bans transgender people from using a bathroom unaligned with their biological sex, teachers from being required to use a student’s preferred pronouns, puberty blockers, and sex-change surgeries. Democrats have framed the bill as attacking and marginalizing transgender youth.

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“To say this is a bill protecting children is completely disingenuous. To call this a parent’s rights bill is a despicable affront to me, personally,” Kentucky state Sen. Karen Berg, one of only seven Democrats in the chamber, said Wednesday, according to the Hill. “This is absolute willful, intentional hate for a small group of people who are the weakest and the most vulnerable among us.”

Republicans have defended the bill as necessary to protect impressionable youths from making life-altering decisions, the consequences of which they aren’t fully aware.

“We cannot allow people to continue down the path of fantasy, to where they’re going to end up 10, 20, 30 years down the road and find themselves miserable from decisions that they made when they were young,” Republican Rep. Shane Baker said.

A key crux for those opposing the bill is that specialized healthcare that helps transgender people transition is a necessity and that those deprived of it may commit suicide.

“Improving access to gender-affirming care is an important means of improving health outcomes for the transgender population,” Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear’s veto message read. “Senate Bill 150 will cause an increase in suicide among Kentucky’s youth.”

However, the American College of Pediatricians, a conservative medical advocacy group, argues that such treatments are not only unproven but dangerous.

“There is not a single long-term study to demonstrate the safety or efficacy of puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and surgeries for transgender-believing youth,” the group said. “This means that youth transition is experimental, and therefore, parents cannot provide informed consent, nor can minors provide assent for these interventions. Moreover, the best long-term evidence we have among adults shows that medical intervention fails to reduce suicide.”

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The group wrote that puberty blockers and hormone therapy may be the cause of health problems such as “osteoporosis, mood disorders, seizures, cognitive impairment, and, when combined with cross-sex hormones, sterility. In addition to the harm from Lupron, cross-sex hormones put youth at an increased risk of heart attacks, stroke, diabetes, blood clots, and cancers across their lifespan.”

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