As state lawmakers across the United States introduce restrictive proposals targeting the LGBTQ community, Tennessee’s Republican-led legislature has advanced proposals to ban gender-affirming care for transgender youth and restrict drag shows. The move in Tennessee follows a controversial video of a Nashville doctor who claimed gender-affirming procedures were “huge money makers” for hospitals. This prompted calls for an investigation into Vanderbilt University Medical Center, although it’s unknown if any authorities have done so.
If enacted, doctors would be banned from providing gender-affirming care to minors, including puberty blockers and hormones, with exceptions for treating abnormalities or if the care had begun before July 1, 2023. The legislation also classifies drag shows as an “adult cabaret performance” and restricts them from being held on public property or places where children may view them.
Advocates on both sides of the issue packed hearing rooms on Tuesday, with some claiming the legislation is needed to prevent child abuse, while others warned that taxpayers could end up paying for court challenges if the ban is found illegal. Republican lawmakers appeared unmoved by the warnings, with some making controversial comments.
The bill still needs to clear additional committees and both the GOP-controlled House and Senate chambers before it can be reviewed by Republican Governor Bill Lee, who supports the legislation.