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Ky. Senate may change proposed ban on gender-affirming care for transgender youth

The towering halls of the Kentucky Capitol, shown from one of the higher floors inside the building, are displayed here.
Alix Mattingly
Louisville Public Media
Kentucky senators who walk the halls of the state Capitol building could vote Wednesday on an amendment that would scale back a proposed ban on gender-affirming health care for transgender youth.

A Republican senator wants his colleagues to lessen their proposed restrictions on certain medical treatments for transgender kids. The Senate could vote on that sometime Wednesday.

If you’re looking for transgender peer support, you can reach Trans Kentucky at 859-448-5428 or online at transkentucky.com. You can also contact the Trevor Project, which provides free, confidential counselors who specialize in helping LGBTQ youth.

The Kentucky Senate could vote Wednesday to scale back a proposed ban on gender-affirming medical care for transgender youth.

Republican Sen. Danny Carroll of Benton said during a contentious committee meeting Tuesday that he would work on changes to House Bill 470 because he thought it didn’t have to go “so far.”

After a closed-door meeting that evening with his GOP colleagues, he introduced an amendment that would delete much of HB 470, including provisions under which doctors would lose their licenses if they provide gender-affirming treatments to a minor.

Carroll’s version of the bill would institute reduced, but still significant, restrictions on the gender-affirming care trans people under 18 years old can receive.

It would let children diagnosed with gender dysphoria receive puberty blockers, if they have a parent’s “written, notarized consent.” Those medications delay puberty and are reversible.

It also would restrict related mental health services for trans children to services that "address a person's sex or gender" but do not "promote" transition.

The bill still would ban gender-affirming hormone therapy and surgery.

Access to gender-affirming care already is difficult for trans minors and adults, and it’s rare for a minor to receive any form of gender-affirming surgery. According to experts, the decision for a trans person under 18 years old to receive puberty blockers or hormone therapy is reached through careful consultations between the child, their parents and their health care providers, as recommended by major national and state medical associations.

Other controversial aspects of HB 470 also would remain untouched if the Senate adopts Carroll’s proposal.

The bill still would institute new rules for public schools that would negatively affect trans students. It would let teachers misgender trans students.

It also would direct school districts to develop rules for students’ use of bathrooms and locker rooms, and would do so in a way that could prompt schools to block trans students from using the facilities that correspond with their gender identity.

A few Republican senators besides Carroll have proposed changes to HB 470 as well.

The Senate is scheduled to convene at 2 p.m. Wednesday and could vote on any of the suggested amendments, as well as on whether to pass HB 470 and send the new version to the House for consideration.

Support for this story was provided in part by theJewish Heritage Fund.

Morgan is LPM's health & environment reporter. Email Morgan at mwatkins@lpm.org.

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