Image Credit: Gov. Bill Lee / Facebook
The Tennessee Conservative [By Paula Gomes] –
Governor Bill Lee signed two bills into law last Thursday that will protect children in Tennessee.
House Bill 0001/Senate Bill 0001 prohibits “gender affirming” care for minors who identify as trans, and House Bill 0009/Senate Bill 0003 makes it an offense for drag performers to provide sexually provocative entertainment in the presence of children under 18.
The law is set to go into effect on July 1st, 2023. Minors currently receiving puberty blockers or hormones opposite of their gender at birth will lose access to such care after March 31st, 2024.
Lambda Legal is joined by the American Civil Liberties Union and ACLU of Tennessee in opposing the new law.
The law also provides a legal basis for patients who feel they were injured as a result of gender affirming treatments to sue parents or guardians and the medical physicians who provided treatment.
The law banning sexually obscene drag performances will take effect April 1, 2023, a month ahead of “Pride” month in June.
Back in February, organizers for Knox Pride said they would cancel their annual festival and parade if Lee signed SB 0003 into law. However the group has not canceled any events so far.
Nashville Pride Festival and Parade is set for June 24-25, 2023 in downtown Nashville.
Stella Yarbrough, legal director for ACLU of Tennessee stated, “We are disappointed that Governor Lee chose to sign a bill that politicians intended to censor drag performances. However, I want to be abundantly clear: the law that was just signed does not make it illegal to perform in drag in Tennessee. The law bans obscene performances, and drag performances are not inherently obscene… We will challenge enforcement of this law if it is used to punish a drag performer or shut down a family-friendly LGBTQ event.”
“As soon as Gov. Lee signs Senate Bill 3, Hannah [Miyamoto] will go to the federal court in southern California, her home, to sue Tennessee officials for preventing her from achieving her desire to present Twelve Nights with Viola & Olivia in Nashville and Memphis. Hannah will ask the federal court in California to declare the amendments to Tennessee law that Senate Bill 3 will work invalid and void; hopefully, upon stipulated facts and without a trial.”
Senate sponsor Jack Johnson (R-Franklin-District 23) said in a tweet, “This bill gives confidence to parents that they can take their kids to a public or private show and will not be blindsided by a sexualized performance.”
About the Author: Paula Gomes is a Tennessee resident and reporter for The Tennessee Conservative. You can reach Paula at firstname.lastname@example.org.