Ky. LGBTQ advocates react to passing of house bill targeting gender transition

Ky. LGBTQ advocates react to passing of House Bill targeting gender transition
Published: Mar. 2, 2023 at 10:36 PM EST
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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - It was a long and emotional day for LGBTQ advocates who spent the day in Frankfort protesting what they call anti-trans legislation.

“I’m not sure when the last time was that I walked down a hallway, and there were literally dozens of people hugging each other and weeping,” said Ban Conversion Therapy Kentucky Director Rebecca Blankenship.

There were strong emotions as House Bill 470 would ban healthcare providers from doing anything to help kids transition passed in committee and just hours later approved by the full House.

Opponents say the bill would ban healthcare providers from doing anything to help trans children transition. Supporters and the bill’s sponsor say it looks out for the long-term mental health of children, citing a study from Sweden.

“It showed damage to children’s mental health,” said Rep. Jennifer Decker, R-Waddy. “They lived lives of sadness long term after this procedure.”

Lawmakers against the bill say it’s taking rights from parents, some Republicans argued during COVID mandates.

“A couple of months ago, you were saying the government can’t tell me to wear a cloth mask to prevent a global pandemic. Now you’re saying the government can tell a mother and a father what to do with their kid, and they don’t have any right to opt out,” said Rep. Pamela Stevenson, D-Louisville. “There is no scientific evidence in existence that shows long-term mental health outcomes will be improved. Just the opposite.”

Despite the frustrations, activists are not giving up.

“Hope is something you choose because you want things to be better. Hope is a prerequisite for action, for change,” Blankenship said. I will always maintain hope, even in dark moments.”

The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.

Should it pass, it would head to Governor beshear’s desk. On Thursday, he called the legislation inhumane, adding the legislature should be focused on other issues.