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Protests ahead of Gov. bill Lee's decision to pass or veto bill banning gender affirming procedures for minors

OUTMemphis said the bill, as well as other new legislations moving through Tennessee government, targets the LGBTQIA+ community.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The bill banning some gender affirming care and medical procedures for minors now waits at the governor's desk to be revoked or signed in to law, and the LGBTQIA+ Community is crying out and rallying against the possible new state law and ban.

There will be a press conference and a rally to stand up for the LGBTQ+ community today, Feb. 24 at 4 p.m. at OUTMemphis Community Center located at 892 S. Cooper St.

OUTMemphis, which is the non-profit organization leading the event, the bill, as well as other new legislations moving through Tennessee government, directly targets the LGBTQIA+ community in a harmful way.

According to OUTMemphis, there are some 20 bills being presented in the Tennessee house and the senate that aim to limit the rights of persons who identify at LGBTQIA+, targeting gender-affirming healthcare, freedom of expression" and more.

Tennessee passed a new bill Thursday, Feb. 23, which bans drag shows and “adult cabaret” performances considered sexually explicit from public places or anywhere children could see them.

Now the controversial ban of gender-affirming surgeries bill bill, which passed in the Senate with a 74-19 vote, is expected to pass to law after receiving a great deal of support from Tennessee republican legislation.

If signed, the bill will go into effect July 1.

Tennessee Equality Project and  the Human Rights Campaign both partner with OUTMemphis in today's rally. Planned Parenthood of TN & North MS & TN Advocates for Planned Parenthood, CHOICES, Friends for Life & the Haven, WeCareTN, MidSouth Pride, ChangeTN, and more also partnered for the rally.

Gender-affirming healthcare is the only evidence-based medical care for transgender people under the age of 18, The American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee (ACLU-TN) argues. 

ACLU, and Lambda Legal said they plan to take immediate legal action against the ban to gender-affirming care if it passes to law. 

ACLU said anyone who is at risk of being affected by these restrictions on gender-affirming can seek legal assistance by completing their intake form or reach out to the Lambda Legal help desk.

Lucas Cameron-Vaughn, a staff attorney at ACLU-TN, said in a statement that he is "deeply disturbed" byt state politicians and their efforts to limit the rights of the LGBTQIA+ community.

“We are deeply disturbed that state politicians have voted to interfere with the ability of families to make decisions, in consultation with medical professionals, to provide critical care for young people who are transgender. All Tennesseans should have access to the healthcare they need to survive and thrive. Gender-affirming healthcare for trans youth is safe, necessary, effective and often life-saving. Legislators are risking trans young people’s health, wellbeing and safety with this dangerous legislation. We urge Governor Lee to veto this overreaching, discriminatory bill, or we will see him in court.”

At the Tennessee House General Assembly meeting, Representative Gino Bulso argued why he supports the gender-affirming procedure ban bill.

"This bill is not born in hate. This bill is born out of love to protect the innocence of children and I am proud to sand with Representative Todd to support it."

The Trevor Project, which is the leading suicide prevention organization for LGBTQ young people, said decision making about transgender youth should not be left for politicians to decide. 

“Decisions about transgender medical care should be made between trans patients, their doctors, and their families. Politicians have no business deciding these personal matters by enforcing blanket bans that defy professional guidance from every major medical and mental health association in the country,” Kasey Suffredini (he/him pronouns), Vice President of Advocacy and Government Affairs at The Trevor Project, said. “We urge the governor to reject this harmful bill and, instead, work to expand access to best-practice medical care for young people across Tennessee.”

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