Kentucky GOP rushes bans on books, body autonomy and artistic expression: Rally on March 2

by Belle Townsend

With February 21st and 22nd being the respective filing deadlines for the KY state Senate and House, there were an influx of bills introduced. 

Of those is Senate Bill 5. This bill, characterized by critics as a book banning bill, would create a system to allow for parents to allege that materials taught in school are harmful to minors, effectively creating a complaint resolution policy. It will now go on to a full Senate vote, as it passed the Senate Education Committee. 

As of February 23 and in addition to these Kentucky bills, a Tennessee House bill passed. This bill was characterized as an anti-drag bill, and the bill now moves to be signed by Tenessee Republican, Governor Lee. Tennessee is one of multiple other states to be a part of this concerted attack against LGBTQ+ folks, and Kentucky is right there with them.

Of those is House Bill 470, which “cracks down on gender transition services for any Kentuckian under 18,” according to the Lexington Herald-Leader. 

In the Herald-Leader article by Austin Horn, “The bill defines ‘gender transition services” as “any service provided or performed by a healthcare provider or mental healthcare provider for the purpose of assisting a person with a gender transition.” That would include – per the bill – “social transition services”, inpatient and outpatient services, prescribing or dispensing puberty blockers or cross-sex hormones, and any form of gender reassignment surgery.”

In a press release from the Fairness Campaign on February 23, Executive Director Chris Hartman quotes that, “According to a recent Mason-Dixon Polling and Strategy statewide poll of registered KY voters, 71% oppose Kentucky laws that would allow the state to overrule parents’ decisions to obtain certain healthcare for their transgender teenager, such as certain medications that can regulate puberty.”

Startlingly, Hartman further quotes that only, “21% of Kentucky voters support such measures, with 8% remaining undecided.”

HB 470 is moving through the Kentucky House quickly, with Hartman describing it as “an uncommon first reading and immediate assignment to the Judiciary Committee upon introduction earlier this week.” Clearly, this concerted attack against anti-LGBTQ+ folks is calculated at every step of the way. 

While you can still call or write your legislators to advocate against these bills, you can also take action by attending the rally in Frankfort held by Ban Conversion Therapy Kentucky. This rally to #ProtectKYkids quotes House Bill 470, House Bill 30, and Senate Bill 150 as representative of the “most dangerous kind of government overreach, pushed by out-of-state radicals,” and also, “very likely to cost the lives of children.” 

The Rally to #ProtectKYkids will be held March 2 at the Kentucky Capitol Rotunda at 12 p.m.

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