Late Night Amendment in Kentucky Senate Cuts Back Limitations on Transgender Youth

Frankfort, Ky.–Kentucky Republican Senator Danny Carroll proposed an amendment on Tuesday night that would dramatically scale back the limitations placed on transgender youth, their families, and healthcare providers by the controversial House Bill 470. The original bill proposed a ban on gender-affirming care for minors and would have penalized doctors who provide it. The new amendment filed by Senator Carroll would narrow the prohibitions in the bill and give parents more leeway to make healthcare decisions for their transgender children. It would cut almost 30 pages from the original bill and replace much of it with restrictions that only allow reversible puberty-blocking drugs with parental consent. Only children who have a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria can receive nonsurgical medical treatment from licensed physicians who are appropriately trained in providing such treatments in collaboration with a clinical psychologist or psychiatrist.

The amendment still bans surgery for minors with gender dysphoria and limits medication to reversible puberty-blocking drugs only with parental consent. Carroll’s amendment would leave intact other provisions that Democrats and LGBTQ-rights activists have denounced as problematic, including guidance around student pronouns, gender identity, and bathroom policy.

Republican leaders kept the floor open, which allowed the filing of three more floor amendments to HB 470 before Senate President Robert Stivers gaveled the session to an end. The bill emerged from the House, receiving a committee hearing and floor vote within hours of each other as cries of protest filled the Capitol. Voting against the measure in the House were Republican Reps. Kimberly Poore Moser, R-Taylor Mill, Kim Banta, R-Ft. Mitchell and Stephanie Dietz, R-Edgewood. The bill cleared the House in a 75-22 vote.

Senator Carroll expressed that he thought the original House Bill 470 had portrayed fear that doctors would not be comfortable treating transgender children. “The idea is for there to be options for kids that are going through this,” Carroll said. The amendment would limit nonsurgical medical treatments by ensuring that a parent or guardian provides notarized consent, the child must be medically diagnosed with gender dysphoria, the treatment is provided by a licensed physician who is “appropriately trained and experienced” in providing similar treatments, and cross-sex hormones including testosterone and estrogen are banned. Mental health care “that promotes gender transition” is banned, but mental health care that “addresses a person’s sex or gender” is allowed. The treatments “meet evidence-based medical standards of care for the treatment of children with gender dysphoria.”

The original House Bill 470 could have resulted in healthcare professionals losing their licenses and public funding if they provide “gender transition services” to people under 18 years old. The bill describes such care as “unethical and unprofessional,” and the providers as “unfit to perform the duties and discharge the responsibilities of his or her position or occupation.”

Photo: Sen. Danny Carroll, R-Benton (LRC PIO)