Hundreds of people, primarily teenagers, gathered outside the Kentucky state Capitol Wednesday to protest against one of the most extreme anti-transgender rights bills in the country, which the Senate is expected to vote into law.
Governor Andy Beshear vetoed the bill last week, warning that it will cause an “increase in suicide among Kentucky’s youth” if it becomes law. But the measure passed the state Senate by a veto-proof majority, and the chamber is expected to override Beshear’s veto on Wednesday or Thursday.
If it becomes law, Senate Bill 150 would ban all gender-affirming care for trans minors in Kentucky and would force doctors to detransition any minors in their care. It would prohibit discussing sexual orientation or gender identity in public schools at any level, prevent trans students from using the bathroom that corresponds to their gender identity, and would allow teachers to refuse to use a student’s preferred pronouns.
Courier Journal reporter Olivia Krauth, who has covered S.B. 150 extensively, said Wednesday’s crowd may be the biggest she’s seen during the current legislative session.
Protesters chanted, “Trans rights are human rights,” as they waved signs and listened to Democratic state senators speak.
One senator, Karen Berg, told the protesters, “You are perfect the way God made you. Remember that every moment of your life.” The bill is particularly personal for Berg, whose trans son died by suicide last year.
Later, when the session began, Berg warned her colleagues, “This hate will not stop. We know from history this is how you destroy a democracy.”
The crowd continued to grow throughout the morning, as more people showed up to express support for trans Kentuckians.
Kentucky is just the latest state to have lawmakers try to curtail LGBTQ rights. Last week, Florida advanced an anti-trans bill so broad and extreme it could also prevent people from getting breast cancer treatment. Georgia, meanwhile, passed a law banning gender-affirming care for minors and criminalizing medical workers who provide that care.