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2. Bill filed to limit care for transgender youth in TN

NASHVILLE, Tennessee (WKRN) – SB0005, informally titled Youth Health Protection Act, follows SB0001. Both have implications for transgender care of children.

“It’s there if anyone tries to change Senate Bill 0001 in any way to weaken what it needs to do for the underage children of the state of Tennessee,” Sen. Janice Bowling (R-Tullahoma) said of SB0005 in a voice message .

Bowling filed the law last week.

Tennessee transgender activists say lawmakers introduced these bills without consulting the individuals concerned. “These are fears that are built without any interaction with us,” said Dahron Johnson, educator for the Tennessee Equality Project community. “There is no conversation with us.”

Johnson is part of the transgender community — a community she says just wants everyone to accept her. “They want to be able to go to the bathroom and exercise and go to school and learn about themselves and go to the doctor and take care of the people they are and whoever they are whatever they are.”

The new bill is very similar to the first – introduced by Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson (R-Franklin) and House Majority Leader William Lamberth (R-Portland) after a Conservative commentator accused Vanderbilt of using his transgender Clinic to operate only for profit reasons.

Bowling’s account contains two important additions to Johnson/Lamberth’s:

  • It protects whistleblowers who report someone providing transgender therapy to children.
  • It specifically states that state funds may not be used for sex reassignment therapy.

“This law is essentially the law that was passed in North Carolina and portions of the bill — the portions that have passed statutory review — from the Arkansas statute,” Bowling said.

Most Republicans have supported transgender restrictions on children, while most Democrats are on the other side.

“There are hundreds of real issues families are facing right now — housing affordability, inflation, school funding, access to health care, childcare,” said Sen. Heidi Campbell (D-Nashville). “But instead of solving real problems, bills like this one attack already marginalized families.”

Johnson appealed to lawmakers to at least consider including the people who would be affected by this law. “One of the most helpful things would be if one of these legislators who is introducing one of these bills would just take the time to sit down with a trans youth and hear what it was like to have their experience,” she said.