Somewhere in Kentucky, a teenager sits on a wooden bench in a locker room, bending down to tie the long laces of her Nike sneakers. She's known she is different from the other children since elementary school. She's preparing to play volleyball in gym class, a sport she loves that gives her immense pleasure.
Two years ago, she told her parents that she didn't feel right in her body, that she didn't feel like a boy but identified as a girl. This child is fortunate because she has a loving and accepting family, who celebrated her new name and identity and helped her move forward with gender-affirming care.
Not everyone is so charitable. A set of grandparents doesn't support the child. And that's within the child's circle. Think about the fragility of an adolescent and all the issues a child who doesn't have gender dysphoria experiences. Then put yourself in the child's position.
One of the parents expressed rage that the legislators who passed Kentucky Senate Bill 150 into law on Thursday morning may look at things differently if they had a trans child. Do they understand the suffering a child who changes their name and gender identity encounters?
"The legislation doesn't make sense. The legislators talk of parents' rights in wanting schools to out a trans child who hasn't disclosed to parents, yet if a supportive parent wants to provide treatment for the child, then the parent's rights aren't considered. Which is it?"
The bill, passed in the Kentucky capitol of Frankfort on Thursday morning, crossed the finish line in a last-minute maneuver by the Republicans. According to the Louisville Courier-Journal, the bill was on life support Wednesday night. Then, during lunch on Thursday, the House Education Committee was called to a surprise meeting. Two Republicans, Sen. Max Wise and Rep. David Meade, shared an expanded version of the bill, one so new that the House clerk had not seen a copy. And, of course, the public who sends these legislators to office had no opportunity for review.
Provisions of the bill, which was passed and went to Gov. Andy Beshears for his signature, included:
Allowing teachers to misgender students
A ban on gender-affirming medical care for trans youth (Both the American Academy of Pediatrics and the America Public Health Association support gender-affirming care.)
Doctors must "detransition" or taper off medication (reverse the medical transition process) for youth already in care.
Educators could no longer discuss sexual orientation, and gender identity, with students of any age, nor be they able to discuss sexually transmitted diseases or gender identity before sixth grade. After sixth grade, parental consent is needed for the child to participate in the discussion.
Trans youth would not be allowed to use the school bathroom aligned with their gender identity.
Gov. Beshears has ten days to sign or veto the bill, and likely the votes exist to override the veto, making this Draconian legislation law.
What if it is your child or grandchild? What do you do? Do you stop gender-affirming care in midstream? Do you move away from family and friends to a more trans-friendly place? How do you buoy your child up in a world stepping inside your children's medical care?
No one asks to be born different. Children and teens want to fit in, be seen, enjoy their friends, and live their lives. So what right does the government have to meddle? This question baffles me, like so many other issues on society's plate.
Make your voice known and contact your Kentucky legislator.
Details of the bill: 23RS SB 150 (ky.gov)
While the student mentioned in the story is based on a real person, specific facts were changed to protect the person's identity. She is not safe if her situation is fully known.