Kentucky governor vetoes anti-trans bill that would have forced under-18s to detransition
Kentucky governor Andy Beshear has vetoed a bill that would have banned all gender-affirming care for trans youth.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Kentucky denounced Senate Bill 150 as the “the worst anti-trans bill in the nation” after the state’s legislature passed it on 16 March.
On Friday (24 March), Democrat Beshear announced that he had vetoed the bill, which he told reporters on Thursday “tears away the freedom of parents to make important and difficult medical decisions for their kids.”
He added: “It tears away the freedom of parents to do what those parents believe is best for their kids and instead has big government making those decisions for everyone, even if the parents disagree.”
His decision follows the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) urging Beshear to veto the bill warning that it would “terrorise transgender youth in schools, in doctor’s offices” and could “put them in danger at home”.
Senate Bill 150 would ‘endanger children of Kentucky’
Senate Bill 150 seeks to ban gender-affirming healthcare for trans youth, requires doctors to detransition young trans people and prevents schools from discussing gender identity or sexual orientation with students of any age.
The bill would also allow teachers to refuse to use a student’s preferred pronouns.
Beshear, who is running for reelection, added in his formal veto message that he chose to veto the bill “because my faith teaches me that all children are children of god and Senate Bill 150 will endanger the children of Kentucky”.
He went on to highlight a 2022 National Survey on LGBTQ+ youth mental health, which found 45 per cent of young trans people “seriously considered suicide in the past year”, with nearly one in five trans youth having attempted suicide.
Beshear flagged that the American Medical Association found this rate decreased among those who received gender-affirming care
The Trevor Project condemned the bill, describing it as “appalling” and “dangerous”, while the ACLU of Kentucky had vowed legal action if it becomes law.
Despite his good intentions, the Republican-dominated legislature is likely to override Beshear’s veto when it returns for the final two days of the session (29 and 30 March).
Suicide is preventable. Readers who are affected by the issues raised in this story are encouraged to contact Samaritans on 116 123 (www.samaritans.org), or Mind on 0300 123 3393 (www.mind.org.uk). Readers in the US are encouraged to contact the National Suicide Prevention Line on 1-800-273-8255.
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