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Tennessee enacts bill banning gender-affirming Trans youth healthcare

“This bill says that the state doesn’t trust trans youth, their parents, and their physicians”



Tennessee State Capitol building in Nashville (Photo Credit: State government of Tennessee)

NASHVILLE, TN. – On Tuesday Tennessee Governor Bill Lee signed Senate Bill 126, which bans gender affirming medical care for Trans youth. The measure prohibits medical and healthcare professionals from prescribing puberty blockers or hormone therapy.

“Governor Lee signed the discriminatory SB126. It’s not a ban on gender-affirming care for trans youth who have entered puberty. It bans that health care before puberty, which health care providers are not doing. The point of it was a slap in the face and poss. future restrictions,” the Tennessee Equality Project noted on Twitter.

The TNEQP then went on to note “We don’t normally put health care protocols into the code. But this bill says that the state doesn’t trust trans youth, their parents, and their physicians.”

“If lawmakers really care about the best interests of trans youth, they would focus on improving access to quality health care instead of playing doctor themselves,” Alphonso David, the president of the HRC, said Wednesday in a statement.

“Patients, parents and health care providers should be guided by science and medical best practices rather when seeking treatments, not the whims of the state legislators. Gov. Lee has made Tennessee a pioneer in anti-transgender discrimination by signing the first and second bathroom bills since HB2 (North Carolina’s much criticized 2016 bill) in recent days,” he added.

This legislation was opposed by both leading professional pediatric care associations, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Medical Association. Last month, James L. Madara, MD, the CEO and executive vice president of the American Medical Association sent a letter to the National Governors Association cautioning “We believe this legislation represents a dangerous governmental intrusion into the practice of medicine and will be detrimental to the health of transgender children across the country.”

“We believe it is inappropriate and harmful for any state to legislatively dictate that certain transition-related services are never appropriate and limit the range of options physicians and families may consider when making decisions for pediatric patients,” the AMA stated.

The Human Rights Campaign noted;

“SB 126 (HB 1027) is part of the 2021 “Slate of Hate” rippling through the Tennessee state legislature. This anti-transgender bill is the fifth discriminatory piece of legislation signed by Gov. Lee this session following HB 1182 (SB 1224), a business bathroom bill; SB 228, an anti-transgender sports ban; SB 1229, a sweeping anti-LGBTQ education bill; and HB 1233, an anti-transgender student bathroom bill.

These anti-equality bills are being pushed by national extremist groups and peddled by lawmakers in Tennessee in an effort to sow fear and division.”

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Tennessee bans collegiate Trans athletes

The law also requires Tennessee colleges to determine a student-athlete’s gender using the student’s “original” birth certificate



Tennessee Republican Governor Bill Lee/State of Tennessee YouTube

NASHVILLE – Republican Governor Bill Lee signed a bill last Friday that effectively bans transgender women from competing on college sports teams consistent with their gender identity in Tennessee.

The new law, Senate Bill 2153, “prohibits males from participating in public higher education sports that are designated for females.” The law also requires Tennessee colleges to determine a student-athlete’s gender using the student’s “original” birth certificate.

Every university and college in the state will also be required to adopt and enforce a policy ensuring compliance with the new law. The measure would also prevent any government entity, organization or athletic association from taking “an adverse action” against a school that complies with the law or a student who reports a violation.

“This law sends a horrible message that trans and nonbinary youth can be excluded from the many benefits of participating in sports,” Chris Sanders, the executive director of the Tennessee Equality Project, said Friday in a statement issued by the Human Rights Campaign. 

“More broadly, it also stains those who are complicit and creates habits of lawmaking that endanger everyone in Tennessee,” he said. “Legislation crafted from animus and ignorance protects no one.”

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Terminated CEO who bullied LGBTQ+ teen sues comedian Kathy Griffin

“Yep. This is what it means to be an LGBTQ+ ally. I will fight this suit and I will not settle. I don’t think he got fired because of me”



Screenshot/WKRN News 2

NASHVILLE – The former Chief Executive Officer of a Franklin, Tennessee-based healthcare company, who was terminated a year ago after his homophobic tirade against a former LGBTQ high school student, announced that he was suing comedian Kathy Griffin claiming Griffin’s Tweets led to his dismissal.

Samuel Johnson, was fired by VisuWell in April 2021 hours after a Tik-Tok and Instagram reel went viral, which was also tweeted by Griffin.

Nahville ABC News affiliate WKRN 2 had first reported the story after a cell phone video posted to multiple social media platforms went viral. In the video taken at the Harpeth Hotel in downtown Franklin, Dalton Stevens, a senior at Franklin High School, was with his boyfriend and date Jacob Geittman when Johnson walked up to Stevens and ridiculed him for his formal prom attire, a red full length dress.

“Slander terms thrown towards me of like ‘You look bad,’ ‘You’ve got hair on your chest, you shouldn’t be wearing a dress,’ ‘You’re not a man,’ blah, blah, blah,” Stevens told WKRN. “The fact that he thought he had the audacity to come tell me what I was supposed to wear and what I was supposed to do because of his standards.”

Stevens told the station that, “I very much view clothes as genderless,” His boyfriend chimed in with “You can have your thoughts and opinions, [but] keep them to yourself,” Geittman said. “You don’t need to go up to a teenager in public on their prom night and publicly shame and harass them for what they decided to wear.”

In a series of tweets on the company’s Twitter account, VisuWell issued a formal statement then added that “in response to those asking for additional clarity on Sam Johnson’s termination as CEO, we can confirm that Mr. Johnson is no longer employed by VisuWell in any capacity.

He no longer has a position on the Board of Directors or any informal advisory role. His behavior was not representative of our values, which include respect and compassion for all.”

After filing his suit in U.S. District Court Johnson tweeted:

Griffin responded: “Yep. This is what it means to be an LGBTQ+ ally. I will fight this suit and I will not settle. I don’t think he got fired because of me. I hope these kids are ok.”

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New law restricts funding to schools allowing Trans students to play sports

“Telling transgender students that they can’t participate as who they really are amounts to excluding them from sports entirely”



Tennessee State Flag (Blade file photo)

NASHVILLE – Republican Governor Bill Lee signed a bill last Friday that allows for the withholding of state funds from any Tennessee school districts that don’t comply with the trans-exclusionary law Lee signed in March of 2021, Senate Bill 228.

The law, S.B. 228, bans trans children from participating on middle and high school sports teams that match their gender by requiring student athletes to prove the sex they were assigned at birth with an “original” birth certificate or other forms of proof. 

Written into the language of the law, Tennessee’s Department of Education would withhold a portion of state funds from local school districts that fail to determine a student’s gender for participation in middle or high school sports. The measure does not specify exactly how much money should be withheld by the state.

“Telling transgender students that they can’t participate as who they really are amounts to excluding them from sports entirely – depriving them of opportunities available to their peers and sending the message that they are not worthy of a full life,” said Henry Seaton, ACLU of Tennessee’s transgender justice advocate, in a statement.

Last Fall, The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the ACLU of Tennessee and Lambda Legal filed the lawsuit on behalf of Luc Esquivel, a 14-year-old boy from Knoxville, in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee, arguing that the law is discriminatory and unconstitutional. 

Tennessee lawmakers are also advancing a separate bill that would ban transgender athletes from participating in female college sports. Republicans have also pushed another measure to let teachers and school districts use the pronoun that a transgender student does not prefer, exempting teachers from facing employment punishment and protecting schools from civil liability. Both proposals are expected to clear the General Assembly, the Associated Press reported.

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