Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee has signed the banning of transgender treatment for children into law.

The move means there is a total ban on all gender-affirming health care for kids in the state, including puberty blockers and hormone treatments. 

Alongside the ban on treatment, Lee also signed off on a new law barring “adult-orientated” entertainment, like drag shows, from public property. The events can only take place in age-restricted venues from April 1.

The new medical legislation, which was fast-tracked by the Republican majority in the state, will take full effect this summer.

This means that any children in Tennessee who are currently on gender-affirming medication will have until March 31, 2024, to come off them. 

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee.

The law, signed on Thursday, was written to ban medical treatment for the diagnosis of gender dysphoria rather than prohibiting a particular drug or medication itself. 

Lee signed the bill, moving in into legislature, despite harsh criticisms and threats to sue from the likes of the American Civil Liberties Union.

Lee signed off on the legislation without issuing a statement or in a public ceremony. 

In the weeks leading up to the law being signed, opinions on both sides were heard. House Majority Leader William Lamberth argued that minors lack the maturity to make “life-altering” medical decisions like taking gender-affirming medication.

“These treatments and procedures have a lifetime of negative consequences that are irreversible,” Lamberth said. 

It comes as the debate over the rights of America’s transgender people intensifies this year, with scores of Republican-led bills aimed at banning puberty blockers in front of state legislatures.

Some 100 bills have been proposed across 27 states aimed at stopping children from accessing hormone blocking drugs and other types of ‘gender-affirming care’, according to several groups and politicians who monitor the issue.

Other draft laws being debated in state legislatures cover everything from which pronouns can be used in classrooms, whether trans girls can play in trans sports teams and if trans people must use bathrooms that correspond to their birth sex.

They are being debated as trans people complain about battling prejudice in a fight for their survival, while parents of trans-identifying teens bemoan their kids being indoctrinated by online ideologues, some even encouraged by their teachers. 

The governors of South Dakota and Utah have already signed into law bans on trans procedures for kids that lawmakers approved earlier this year. Bills in Idaho, Missouri, Wyoming and Texas seek to do the same. 

Tennessee signed it into law on Thursday, March 3, 2023. 

The bills are often opposed by Democrats. White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre this week slammed the “450 and counting anti-LGBTQI+ bills” as “cheap shots” that would hurt a “vulnerable group.” 


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