Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee Signs Laws to Ban Child Sex Changes, Restrict Drag Performances

A child dances on stage during a drag show as part of celebrations for Pride month on June
ALLISON JOYCE/AFP via Getty Images // Inset: AP Photo/Mark Zaleski, File

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee has signed into law bills that ban sex change operations, cross-sex hormone therapy, and puberty blockers on children who are attempting to transition, in addition to banning drag performances on public property and in the presence of children. 

Republican Gov. Bill Lee signed into law two different bills, one of which bans medical interventions meant to assist attempts by minors to change their sex.

The legislation, which passed through the Tennessee State House by a vote of 77 to 16, allows for a grace period for those who have already begun to attempt a transition. After the period expires, however, the legislation will authorize the attorney general to investigate healthcare providers who violate the ban, who could be fined up to $25,000.

Leftists protested the legislation as it made its way through the state legislature:

Spencer Lindquist / Breitbart News

Tennessee lawmakers promised to take action after an investigation from Daily Wire host Matt Walsh found that Vanderbilt officials had referred to transitions, particularly sex change operations, as “big money makers”:

The investigation first prompted Republican Gov. Bill Lee to call for an investigation into Vanderbilt University Medical Center in September.

In addition, Breitbart News revealed last year that Vanderbilt Health was the sole sponsor of the “kids and family” portion of the Nashville Pride Parade, which included both drag Bingo and drag queen story hour.

Meanwhile, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) signaled that it intends to challenge the legislation in court after it was passed in the legislature. “All Tennesseans should have access to the health care they need to survive and thrive,” Lucas Cameron-Vaughn, an ACLU-TN staff attorney, remarked in a statement. 

He went on to assert, “Legislators are risking trans young people’s health, wellbeing and safety with this dangerous legislation.”

The ACLU responded to Lee’s signing of the legislation by stating that it is “dedicated to overturning this unconstitutional law,” adding that “this fight is not over”:

Similar bills have gained traction in various other Republican-led states, including Nebraska, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and South Carolina.

In addition, Lee also signed into law a bill that will ban drag performances on public property and in the presence of children. The recently signed legislation classifies “male and female impersonators” as adult cabaret performers, while also banning “adult-oriented performances that are harmful to minors.”

Cabaret performers are themselves defined as “topless dancers, go-go dancers, exotic dancers, strippers, [and] male or female impersonators who provide entertainment that appeals to a prurient interest.”

Under the new law, anyone who either hosts or performs a drag show in the presence of children would be charged with a misdemeanor and subject to a fine of $2,500. They will also be subject to up to one year in prison. Repeat offenses would be classified as a felony, with defendants subject to a $3,000 fine and anywhere between one to six years in prison. 

Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson, who proposed the legislation to ban drag performances in front of children in the Volunteer State, explained, “We’re protecting kids and families and parents who want to be able to take their kids to public places.”

Spencer Lindquist is a reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SpencerLndqst and reach out at slindquist@breitbart.com.


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