Two conservative Tennessee lawmakers have jointly introduced a bill that would have parents charged with child abuse if they allow their prepubescent kids to undergo sex change therapy.
Republican Rep John Ragan and state Senator Janice Bowling on Wednesday filed House Bill 2576, which defines ‘sexual identity change therapy’ as ‘a treatment that involves the use of hormone replacement, puberty blockers, or other medical intervention to change the sexual identity or physical appearance of a patient to a sexual identity or physical appearance that does not correspond to the anatomy and chromosomal makeup with which the patient was born.’
Under the proposed legislation, children who have not yet hit puberty would be prohibited from undergoing sex change therapy.
Pubescent children who wish to undergo sexual identity change would have to provide written parental consent and recommendations from three physicians, including a psychiatrist, as The Tennessean reported.
Parents or guardians who fail to comply with those requirements could be criminally charged with child abuse, and doctors who provide sexual change therapy could face disciplinary actions.
‘Any prepubescent child, especially one who isn’t old enough to cross the street by themselves, is probably not old enough to decide they want to change their sex,’ Rep Ragan said of the bill.
The Republican lawmaker explained that he was inspired to co-sponsor the bill with Senator Bowling after hearing the story of Dr Anne Georgulas, a Texas mother who was attempting to have her seven-year-old son medically transition into a girl, against the objections of her ex-husband, Jeff Younger.
Last month, a judge ruled in the father’s father, saying that both parents should have a say in their son James’ medical decisions.
Younger previously accused his ex-wife of sexually abusing their vulnerable son, forcing him to wear dresses and manipulating him by saying that ‘monsters only eat boys.’
Ragan said that while he is not aware of any similar cases in Tennessee, he has decided to introduce the bill now to be proactive.
LGBTQ advocates have expressed concern that denying transgender children’s access to sex change therapy would cause a spike in suicides.
This is only one of several bills targeting the LGBTQ community – dubbed by critics as ‘slate of hate’ – that conservative lawmakers in Tennessee have introduced over the past year.
In January, Sen Bowling threw her support behind a bill allowing adoption agencies to turn away same-sex couples on religious or moral grounds, reported Tullahoma News. The bill passed the state Senate 20-6 on January 14.