Townhall meeting held to discuss impact of new Ky. law concerning transgender students and lessons on sexuality

Townhall meeting held to discuss impact of new Ky. law concerning transgender students and lessons on sexuality
Published: Apr. 24, 2023 at 9:53 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Community members and state representatives are discussing what happens next following the passage of senate bill 150.

SB 150 prohibits instruction on human sexuality for grades five and below. And districts cannot provide instruction to students of any grade around gender identity, expression or sexual orientation.

It also includes new restrictions on transgender students’ access to bathrooms.

We attended a community forum Monday night. Where many are now asking, “What’s next?”

“What are the next steps for this community as we try to fight these battles going forward?” said one of the coordinators of the event, Roy Harrison.

That is the question the town hall meeting is trying to answer. Now that SB150 has been passed, “What’s next?”

“It’s the health of trans children and children who are dealing with hitting puberty and trying to figure out who they are. All while having a radical minority in the state say you don’t exist. Your problems are not our problems. Ultimately this is going to lead to more trans death,” said Harrison. “And these are children, and this is unacceptable.”

Harrison says it’s important to hear from the ACLU of Kentucky, TransParent Lex, the Kentucky Health Justice Network and state representatives since school systems are now tasked with figuring out how SB 150 is supposed to be implemented in the classroom.

“I think people are lost in the vagueness of it right now,” said House Minority Caucus Chair Rep. Cherylnn Stevenson, D-Lexington. “They’re not sure what’s going on. There are some court cases out there that we are hopeful could provide legal shelter in the storm. So things are still unsettled right now. But we heard KDE’s guidance come down, and basically, that can be summed up in two words: tread lightly.”

In their guidance, the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) even advised districts to remain aware of federal protections when considering these policies because, as the KDE and Emma Curtis with Kentucky Young Democrats point out, SB 150 may contradict federal rules.

“It’s incredibly important that we have legal perspective here because the way the law was written and passed was in such a haphazard, rushed, last-minute way that essentially it contradicted federal law and contradicted itself in multiple ways,” said Curtis.

Rep. Stevenson says she hopes what happens next is people continue these conversations all the way to the ballot box.

“It comes down to elections. Finding people who support the causes and issues you personally feel passionately about. Then getting behind them and doing what it takes to get them to the state house.”

An emergency clause was applied to some sections of the bill.

The gender-affirming health care ban provisions will go into effect in late June.