Kentucky passes "worst anti-trans bill" in US despite widespread criticism

One Republican lawmaker said, “I felt like we were singling out a very fragile group who already struggle for acceptance...this is mean, and I can’t do this."

Person wearing rainbow flag across shoulders and carrying a trans rights are humans rights sign after Kentucky passed worst anti-trans bill in U.S.
Image: Shutterstock

On Thursday, March 16, lawmakers in the US state of Kentucky passed a new anti-trans bill banning all gender-affirming care for trans youth, including hormone therapy.

Despite resistance from Democrats and some Republicans, Senate Bill 150 passed in the House by a margin of 75 to 22, and in the Senate with a vote of 30 to 7. It will now move to the desk of Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear.

While Beshear has actively opposed the bill and will likely try to veto it, the veto can be overruled since Republicans hold a majority in both the Kentucky House and Senate.

If the bill becomes a law, in addition to banning the provision of gender-affirming care to minors, it will also allow teachers to intentionally misgender their trans and non-binary students, and like Florida’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law, it will ban any mention of sexual orientation and gender identity in classroom settings.

Before the vote last week, many passionate LGBTQ+ activists and allies tried to persuade lawmakers to oppose it.

Kentucky State Representative Pamela Stevenson spoke as a veteran who has long fought for people’s personal freedoms. She referenced Republican lawmakers’ hypocrisy for claiming they are helping children and identified the many ways they could be helping them instead of causing harm.


Karen Berg, a Kentucky Senator, physician and professor, delivered an emotional address to the representatives. She referenced the attempts doctors have made to explain the science behind hormone replacement therapy to elected Republican representatives and challenged them to think about why they were elected. She said that if they were trying to protect the most vulnerable constituents, they were failing miserably.

On Twitter, in response to those who falsely believe Kentucky youth are undergoing gender-affirming surgeries, she said, “Your elected officials are trying to scare you into believing that is happening. It is not the standard of care; we follow the standard of care and they know that.”


Berg has long campaigned for transgender rights and tragically lost her trans son to suicide at the age of 24. He was an activist who campaigned against Kentucky’s bathroom bill when he was only 16 years old.


Three Republican representatives voted against the bill, including Kim Banta, Stephanie Dietz, and Killian Timoney.

As the bill was being debated, Timoney used a religious argument to appeal to his conservative colleagues, saying, “I’m not going to comment on how my values might be different, but I just know that when I stand before God on my judgment day, he’s gonna say, ‘who did you love?’ And I’m gonna say ‘everybody.'”

Kim Banta said, “I felt like we were singling out a very fragile group who already struggle for acceptance and belonging, and I just honestly, I said, ‘this is mean, and I can’t do this'”.

The Kentucky American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) called SB 150 “the worst anti-trans bill in the nation” and promised to fight the legislation in court.


ACLU Interim Executive Director, Amber Dukes, said, “This dangerous bill and others like it across the country are nothing more than a desperate attempt to score political points by targeting people who simply want to live their lives”.

In 2023, the US has already introduced over 300 anti-trans and anti-drag bills across 43 states.

© 2023 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

Support GCN

GCN has been a vital, free-of-charge information service for Ireland’s LGBTQ+ community since 1988.

During this global COVID pandemic, we like many other organisations have been impacted greatly in the way we can do business and produce. This means a temporary pause to our print publication and live events and so now more than ever we need your help to continue providing this community resource digitally.

GCN is a registered charity with a not-for-profit business model and we need your support. If you value having an independent LGBTQ+ media in Ireland, you can help from as little as €1.99 per month. Support Ireland’s free, independent LGBTQ+ media.

0 comments. Please sign in to comment.