Beshear Denies GOP Claims of Supporting Sex Change Surgeries for Minors: A Closer Look

Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear has been the target of campaign advertisements suggesting he supports sex change surgeries for minors, a claim both he and LGBTQ rights groups in the state firmly deny.

In a fiercely contested race for governor, Republican Daniel Cameron, supported by Political Action Committees (PACs) like State Solutions and Kentucky Values, has levied this claim against Beshear in advertisements amounting to over $2 million.

Kentucky Values attack ad against Andy Beshear

The adverts, aired over the past two months, prominently feature Beshear’s image, juxtaposed with statements implying the governor would allow sex change surgeries for children as young as 8 or 9 years old. The citation for these claims traces back to an Associated Press story on Beshear’s veto of Senate Bill 150 (SB 150), legislation that sought to impose restrictions on the rights and healthcare services available to transgender minors.

Senate Bill 150, deemed controversial due to its wide-ranging implications for transgender youth, included restrictions on bathroom usage, pronoun adoption, school curricula, and the prohibition of hormone treatments, puberty blockers, and gender reassignment surgeries. It also demanded that doctors revert any minors receiving the now-restricted treatments back to their original biological gender. The bill was overridden by Kentucky’s GOP-controlled General Assembly after Beshear’s veto.

Beshear’s veto was rooted in his belief that SB 150 was detrimental to Kentucky’s youth, stating, “my faith teaches me that all children are children of God, and this bill will endanger the children of Kentucky and cause an increase in suicide among Kentucky’s youth.” He noted the bill would impose unwarranted government interference in personal healthcare issues, and strip parents of their right to make medical decisions for their children.

Critics of the Republican ad campaign claim that while the governor vetoed SB 150, he never expressed support for gender reassignment surgery for minors. Beshear’s campaign spokesman, Alex Floyd, reinforced this, stating last month, “Andy Beshear has always opposed gender reassignment surgeries for minors — which do not happen in Kentucky.”

LGBTQ rights groups in the state, while fighting vehemently against many provisions in SB 150, have not challenged the ban on gender reassignment surgeries for minors. They contend that the primary concern was the bill’s prohibition of puberty blockers and hormone therapy, treatments deemed crucial for transgender youth. “Bans of sex reassignment surgeries for minors are perfectly appropriate and uncontested by every pro-LGBT organization in this Commonwealth. But puberty blockers and hormone therapy save lives,” stated Ban Conversion Therapy Kentucky in a joint statement.

Despite these clarifications, Cameron’s campaign and supporting PACs remain unswayed. Responding to the fact-checking of their campaign ads, Republican Governors Association (RGA) spokeswoman Courtney Alexander argued that Beshear could have proven his stance by signing SB 150.

Andy Beshear ad titled “Parents”

Amidst these allegations, Beshear’s campaign has released a new ad titled “Parents,” which seeks to clarify the governor’s position on the contentious issue. “Daniel Cameron and his allies are pushing a blatantly false attack because they know they can’t win talking about Cameron’s record,” said campaign manager Eric Hyers. He affirmed that Beshear does not support gender reassignment surgery for minors, a procedure that does not occur in Kentucky, and underscored Beshear’s commitment to parent rights in the face of political pressure.

As the race continues, the debate over transgender rights in Kentucky has emerged as a pivotal issue, with both sides vying to shape the narrative in an increasingly contentious campaign.

Screengrab from Andy Beshear ad “Parents” (Andy Beshear for Kentucky)

Top photo: Screengrab from Andy Beshear ad “Parents” (Andy Beshear for Kentucky)