Integrity Score 862
Sponsors of TN SB 657 and HB 578, Senator Janice Bowling and Representative John Ragan
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In line with Tennessee’s streak of leading the 2021 legislative attacks against transgender youth, two bills attempt to criminalize lifesaving healthcare for trans and nonbinary youth by labeling it as “child abuse.”
Though gender-affirming care like hormones and puberty blockers are hardly ever given to trans youth before they reach puberty, the bills makes it a point to still prohibit it – an exacerbated fear-mongering strategy that suggests that children need to be ‘protected’ from ‘becoming’ transgender.
For trans youth who have reached puberty, the bills would require parents to get at least three recommendation letters in writing by physicians – one of whom needs to be board-certified in child and adolescent psychiatry – before they can access gender-affirming care.
Trans people are not sick for being who they are. It’s the cis-het patriarchal gaze that needs to recover from its internalized wounds around gender, and needs to stop projecting its hurt on trans youth.
The bill suggests that supportive adults who find gender-affirming care for their child, and healthcare professionals who provide it without satisfying these stringent demands, will be charged one to six years of prison and a fine of up to $3,000 for if the child is eight-years-old or less.
For trans children who are between the ages of eight and 18, the bill suggests that supportive adults who affirm their child’s identity, will be charged with up to about 11 months of prison, with a possible fine of up to $2,500.
“A healthcare professional who violates this bill will be subject to a civil action in tort in accordance with applicable healthcare liability provisions,” the bills state.
Trans youth know who they are, and acts like these are putting lives at risk: More than half of trans children were at risk of suicide this past year, and access to gender-affirming care is linked to being at lower risk of attempting suicide by nearly 40 percent.
Read more stories by trans folks on how gender-affirming care has been lifesaving: https://bit.ly/33K8DK9
TN SB 657 and HB 578 have been carried over from last year’s legislative sessions.