NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Two Tennessee lawmakers introduced a bill that would punish any parent or doctor who allows a prepubescent child to undergo treatment to change their sexual identity.
Representative John Ragan (R - Oak Ridge) and Senator Janice Bowling (R - Tullahoma) co-sponsored the bill that applies to children who have not yet gone through puberty. Children would be banned from undergoing "sexual identity change therapy." The bill outlines "sexual identity change therapy" as "a treatment that involves the use of hormone replacement, puberty blockers, or other medical intervention to change the sexual identity or physical appearance of a patient to a sexual identity or physical appearance that does not correspond to the anatomy and chromosomal makeup with which the patient was born."
As for minors who have entered puberty who want to undergo sexual identity therapy, the bill requires the parent or legal guardian to provide a signed, written statement recommending sexual identity change therapy for the child from at least three physicians.
Opponents say this is a move to restrict health care for transgender people, and worry bills like this will hurt trans youth who are more likely to feel depressed and attempt suicide.
Oliver Graves was 15-years-old when he started to transition from female to male; it was that November when he started taking hormones.
"To take that away from me would be like taking a way a diabetic person’s insulin; I need it to be the best version of me," he said.
However, the 20-year-old says the decisions he should be making about his life are being made by politicians.
"I don’t think I ever felt represented; I pay my taxes, I live here, I work here, I am a part of this society and whether they like it or not and I deserve to have rights like everyone else," Graves said.
Rep. Ragan released the following statement:
“House Bill 2576 is based upon a recent Texas court case involving divorced parents who disagreed over whether their child should receive hormone therapy that would directly impact their seven-year-old’s sexual identity. This measure is a proactive approach to ensure our youngest citizens of our state are not forced into irrevocable decisions they are not mature enough to make on their own accord.”
This is the latest bill to be introduced into state legislature that would fall under the so called "slate of hate," which is comprised of multiple, controversial legislation that advocates say targets the LGBTQ community.