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Human Rights Campaign Condemns Tennessee House

for Passing Discriminatory Anti-Drag Bill and Gender Affirming Care Ban; Urges Governor Lee to Veto

Nashville, Tennessee – Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) condemned the Tennessee House for passing two anti-LGBTQ+ bills in a row.

House Bill 9 is an anti-LGBTQ+ bill that would ban many drag performances from taking place on any public property in the state, as well as in any location where people under 18 could be present. House Bill 1 is an anti-LGBTQ+ bill that would ban age appropriate, medically necessary care to transgender youth under the age of 18. Both bills will now be sent to Governor Lee’s desk for his signature. Since 2015, Tennessee has enacted more anti-LGBTQ+ laws than any other state in the country. Human Rights Campaign Legal Director Sarah Warbelow released the following statement on the discriminatory anti-drag bill:

“By passing House Bill 9, the Tennessee legislature has done nothing but spread hate, misinformation, and extremism. Drag is a longstanding, celebratory form of entertainment and a meaningful source of employment for many across the state. Yet, rather than focus on actual policy issues facing Tennesseans, politicians would rather spend their time and effort misconstruing age-appropriate performances at a library to pass as many anti-LGBTQ+ bills as they can. Dangerous rhetoric like this has real consequences – prejudiced inspired bills only rile up an extremist base and normalize violence against the LGBTQ+ community, especially transgender and nonbinary people. We urge Governor Lee to veto this discriminatory bill.” Sarah Warbelow, HRC Legal Director

Human Rights Campaign State Legislative Director and Senior Counsel Cathryn Oakley released the following statement on the gender affirming care ban:

“This attempt by radical politicians in Tennessee to ban gender-affirming care is only the latest effort in their war against the LGBTQ+ community, especially against transgender kids. This is one of two discriminatory bills making its way toward Governor Lee’s desk this week alone, alongside a bill that would ban drag performances. The state has not only introduced more anti-LGBTQ+ legislation than any other state in this country, but attacks on the fundamental rights of thousands of LGBTQ+ people in Tennessee have been unrelenting for nearly a decade. These extremist lawmakers have intentionally made life harder and more dangerous for trans kids. Gender affirming care is age-appropriate, life-saving, medically necessary care that is only provided after the consent of parents and doctors. We urge Governor Lee not to sign this harmful bill into law.” Cathryn Oakley, HRC State Legislative Director and Senior Counsel

THE FACTS ABOUT DRAG BANS The dangerous practice of banning LGBTQ+ events, spaces, and culture – including drag performances – is part of a large-scale attack on the LGBTQ+ community and an attempt to put LGBTQ+ people, particularly transgender and non-binary people, back in the closet and labeled as dangerous. Last year alone, politicians in statehouses across the country introduced 315 discriminatory anti-LGBTQ+ bills in 2022 and 29 passed into law. The majority of the discriminatory bills – 149 bills – targeted the transgender and non-binary community and youth. Less than two months into 2023, HRC is already tracking 340 anti-LGBTQ+ bills that have been introduced in statehouses across the country. 150 of those would specifically restrict the rights of transgender people, the highest number of bills targeting transgender people in a single year to date. Of the approximately 90 bills filed this year that would prevent transgender youth from being able to access best practice, medically necessary care, SB 613 is among the most egregious.

Nearly 1 in 5 of any type of hate crime is now motivated by anti-LGBTQ+ bias and the last two years have been the deadliest for transgender people, especially Black transgender women, we have seen since we began tracking fatal violence against the community. Reports of violence and intimidation against LGBTQ+ people have been making news across the country – with white nationalists targeting a Pride event in Idaho and Proud Boys crashing Drag Queen story hours at local libraries to shout homophobic and transphobic slurs. Finally, anti-LGBTQ+ stigma also drives alarmingly high rates of depression, anxiety and suicide. 45% of LGBTQ+ youth seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year, but LGBTQ+ youth who have at least one accepting adult in their life were 40% less likely to attempt suicide. THE FACTS ABOUT GENDER AFFIRMING CARE Every credible medical organization – representing over 1.3 million doctors in the United States – calls for age-appropriate gender-affirming care for transgender and non-binary people.

  • “Transition-related” or “gender-affirming” care looks different for every transgender and non-binary person.

  • Parents, their kids, and doctors make decisions together, and no medical interventions with permanent consequences happen until a transgender person is old enough to give truly informed consent.


Transgender children are not undergoing irreversible medical changes.

  • This is a fundamental misunderstanding about what transition looks like for kids.

  • Therapists, parents and health care providers work together to determine which changes to make at a given time are in the best interest of the child.

  • Some people take medication, and some do not; some adults have surgeries, and others do not. How someone transitions is their choice, to be made with their family and their doctor.

  • In most young children, this care can be entirely social. This means:

    • New name

    • New hairstyle

    • New clothing

    • None of this care is irreversible.


Being transgender is not new.

  • Some say it can feel like being transgender is very new – but that’s because the media has been covering it more in recent months and years.

  • But transgender people have always existed and will continue to exist regardless of the bills we pass.

  • And very few transgender people change their mind.


ALL gender-affirming care is:

  • Age-appropriate

  • Medically necessary

  • Supported by all major medical organizations

  • Made in consultation with medical and mental health professionals AND parents


And in many cases, this care is lifesaving:

  • A recent study from the Trevor Project provides data supporting this — transgender youth with access to gender-affirming hormone therapy have lower rates of depression and are at a lower risk for suicide.

 

(c) 2023, Human Rights Campaign

https://www.hrc.org/press-releases/human-rights-campaign-condemns-tennessee-house-for-passing-discriminatory-anti-drag-bill-and-gender-affirming-care-ban-urges-governor-lee-to-veto?fbclid=IwAR3xFe20-VSQGCqfZqmcYxWHjvfOpIpg5vx6cUbvjhiXR-fajs18nSl34Gw


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