Tennessee recently made history on May 18 when Gov. Bill Lee signed into law a bill prohibiting public and private insurance companies from paying for gender-affirming treatments and medications for transgender youth, barring them from accessing certain treatments and medications.
The bill affects transgender minors in the state of Tennessee, specifically banning insurance companies from providing coverage for gender-affirming surgery, hormone therapy and other healthcare services, including psychological and psychological counseling. It is the first bill of its kind to become law in the United States and the first explicitly targeting trans youth in its coverage.
The new legislation has been heavily criticized by lawmakers, healthcare activists and organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). According to the ACLU, “This legislation furthers the dangerous agenda of politicians who prioritize their own petty politics over the well-being of transgender Americans.”
The bill is especially concerning for medical professionals since it gives healthcare providers the freedom to deny or refuse treatment to transgender youth, a policy which has been proven to have detrimental effects on mental health. A study from Harvard Medical School found that gender-affirming care has been shown to reduce anxiety, depression and suicidal ideation for transgender young people.
Many individuals and organizations are fighting against the bill but the fight is not over. Tennessee’s state legislature is now attempting to pass another piece of legislation that would criminalize transgender people who visit public restrooms that do not correspond to the gender they were assigned at birth.
It is clear that Tennessee’s new bill is a step backward in terms of furthering the rights of the trans and drag community and it is more important than ever to continue fighting for transgender rights.
Britney Banks speaks to protesters outside the house the Tennessee point out Capitol on Feb. 14, 2023, as the legislature hears testimony on two costs that would restrict the rights of LGBTQ persons in the point out.
Britney Banking institutions speaks to protesters exterior the Tennessee state Capitol on Feb. 14, 2023, as the legislature hears testimony on two bills that would restrict the legal rights of LGBTQ folks in the point out.
Nashville, TENN. — Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee has signed a invoice banning drag reveals in community spaces, a measure that will possible power drag displays underground in Tennessee.
Lee gave his signature just hours just after the evaluate passed in the Senate Thursday afternoon. In the same sitting down, he signed a ban on gender-affirming health and fitness treatment for youth in the point out.
The announcement comes as a yearbook picture of the Republican governor in drag a short while ago surfaced on Reddit.
Lee says there is certainly a huge variation amongst wearing a dress at a substantial faculty football sport and drag queens donning a dress on stage.
Hella Skeleton, a drag performer in rural Center Tennessee, claims the line is not clear.
“For Monthly bill Lee to say, ‘You know, that was lighthearted when I did it,’ that is totally absurd when a large amount of drag is incredibly lighthearted,” Skeleton suggests. “Apparently when straight gentlemen costume up poorly in drag, which is Ok. But when gay and queer and trans individuals do it, which is not Okay.”
Republican Point out Rep. Jack Johnson co-sponsored the invoice. He suggests, “We’re preserving young children and households and mothers and fathers who want to be able to just take their youngsters to general public areas. We’re not attacking everyone or concentrating on anyone.”
Broad language anxieties advocates
The language of the bill has also drawn worry from the greater LGBTQ community. Drag performers are outlined as “male or woman impersonators.” The ACLU of Tennessee’s Henry Seaton says that could impact queer Tennesseans on and off the phase.
“It’s … this subtle and sinister way to further criminalize just becoming trans,” Seaton states.
The ban could also have a chilling influence on Pleasure festivals. Out of doors drag is a staple in the Tennessee summer months heat. Though new regulations generally go into impact on July 1, the monthly bill was quietly amended in January to take influence April 1 — in advance of Pleasure thirty day period in June.
Tennessee Tech student Cadence Miller says his era of queer men and women owe a great deal to drag queens, and that it is really no incident they are beneath menace now.
“Historically, drag has been these kinds of an integral element of queer tradition,” Miller states. “Trans drag performers who were being like pioneers and us receiving … any style of queer rights, like at all.”
Legal troubles in advance
The legislation phone calls drag exhibits “hazardous to minors,” but the state’s American Civil Liberties Union states that the lawful definition for “dangerous to minors” is pretty narrow in Tennessee and only covers intense sexual or violent material.
“The law bans obscene performances, and drag performances are not inherently obscene,” says ACLU of Tennessee Authorized Director Stella Yarbrough. The way the legislation is created, she suggests, should really not make drag shows unlawful in the state.
“However, we are concerned that federal government officials could simply abuse this regulation to censor people today dependent on their own subjective viewpoints of what they deem correct.”
Yarbrough states the ACLU will obstacle the legislation if it is utilised to punish a drag performer or shut down a spouse and children-pleasant LGBTQ occasion.
Impacts on nearby organization and outside of
The evaluate refers to drag exhibits as “adult cabaret” that “attraction to a prurient mother nature.” Nashville organization operator David Taylor testified ahead of the condition legislature that the drag demonstrates at his club are not sexually specific:
“We know this for the reason that we have a Tennessee liquor license and are sure by Tennessee liquor guidelines. Our far more than 20 many years in organization, we have not obtained a quotation for one of our drag performers.”
Taylor states the ban on drag will negatively influence Nashville’s overall economy. Drag brunches in the city’s bars are loaded with bachelorette parties, and Music City’s infamous fleet of social gathering vehicles involves a drag queen-certain bus.
“My companies by yourself have contributed a lot more than $13 million to the condition in the form of revenue and liquor taxes due to the fact we opened,” Taylor claims.
This legislative session is the 3rd yr in a row that the statehouse has peeled back again the rights of transgender Tennesseans. It has a lot of trans individuals and people of trans young ones asking yourself regardless of whether keeping in the condition is value the battle.
“There is a great deal of people today who grew up in this article, and this is where by their roots are. And it’s actually brutal to be confronted with that sort of choice of, you know, you can possibly keep here and experience or you can leave this household that you’ve got produced and all that you’ve invested in in this article,” suggests drag performer Hella Skeleton. “So, yeah, it’s a seriously hard option.”