By Ashley Sadler
The bill to ban transgender surgeries for minors cleared the House in a sweeping 77-16 vote. The measure banning drag shows for minors passed by a similar 74-19 margin.
NASHVILLE (LifeSiteNews) — Tennessee lawmakers this week passed bills to ban “gender transition” surgeries and drugs for minors and to outlaw the performance of sexually-charged drag shows for children. The state’s Republican governor is expected to sign both measures into law.
Both bills were passed by the Republican-controlled House of Representatives on Thursday.
The bill to ban transgender surgeries for minors cleared the House in a sweeping 77-16 vote. The measure banning drag shows for minors passed by a similar 74-19.
With Thursday’s legislative actions Tennessee is on track to be the fifth state with a total ban on surgical and pharmaceutical gender interventions for children and the first to ban obscene drag shows for minors, according to The Hill.
Introduced by Republican House Majority Leader William Lamberth and Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson, the measure to outlaw so-called “gender-affirming” care for children will make it illegal to perform surgeries or prescribe puberty blocking or cross-sex hormone drugs to children under the age of 18 in the Volunteer State.
The language of the legislation makes it explicit that any surgical or pharmaceutical intervention “for the purpose of enabling a minor to identify with, or live as, a purported identity inconsistent with the minor’s sex” would be illegal in Tennessee.
Children who suffer from real physical disabilities that require similar surgeries or medications are not excluded from accessing those interventions in the law.
“Children do not need these medical procedures to be able to flourish as adults,” Lamberth said. “They need mental health treatment. They need love and support, and many of them need to be able to grow up to become the individuals that they were intended to be.”
For its part, the bill to ban drag shows for minors was brought by Senate Majority Leader Johnson and Rep. Chris Todd.
The proposal would add additional language to an existing law creating a 1,000 foot buffer zone between schools, public parks, or places of worship and “adult-oriented businesses,” including “adult cabaret performances,” The Hill reported.
Shows featuring “male or female impersonators who provide entertainment that appeals to a prurient interest” would be included under the new measure, as well as “[s]hows with topless dancers, go-go dancers, exotic dancers and strippers,” according to the report.
Gov. Lee is anticipated to approve both laws.
In reference to the bill banning mutilating surgeries and destructive drugs for children, Lee’s press secretary Jade Byers told Catholic News Agency that “the governor appreciates the work of Leader Johnson and Leader Lamberth to protect children and intends to sign the bill when it reaches his desk.”
Impetus for the bill addressing transgender medical interventions for children reportedly goes back to the dogged activism of Catholic Daily Wire podcaster and Tennessee resident Matt Walsh, whose Septe1mber exposé of Nashville’s Vanderbilt University Medical Center revealed the institution was mutilating minors with “gender transitions,” something its leaders reportedly viewed as a “huge money maker.”
Republicans lawmakers demanded answers from Vanderbilt following Walsh’s bombshell report, leading to the institution’s October 2022 decision to “pause” its so-called “gender affirming” procedures for minors.
After Walsh’s investigation, Lee also spoke out against the transgender mutilation of children.
“We should not allow permanent, life-altering decisions that hurt children,” the governor said. “With the partnership of the General Assembly, this practice should end in Tennessee.”
Advocates of the sexual indoctrination and mutilation of children have expressed outrage and threatened to sue the state if Lee puts his signature to the measures.
Pro-LGBT lobby group Human Rights Campaign denounced the Republican lawmakers as “extremist,” arguing that their moves to protect children were deliberate efforts to make “life harder and more dangerous for trans kids.”
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), its Tennessee affiliate, and LGBT group Lambda Legal are vowing to file a lawsuit against the state over the laws, The Hill reported.
While the battle is likely far from over, Walsh struck a hopeful tone Thursday when news broke that the bill to ban the transgender mutilation of children had passed.
“We’re fighting. We’re winning. And we aren’t even close to done,” he said.
“I’m all about being realistic. Nobody would accuse me of optimism,” he continued. “But the fact is that in the fight against gender ideology we have put one win on the board after another. We were way behind when we started so there’s a lot of ground to cover, but momentum is on our side.”