TN Advances Law Targeting Child Gender Transitions

( – Legislators in Tennessee passed a new bill that would make it illegal for adults to assist minors in gaining access to so-called “gender-affirming care” in the state without a parent’s consent, marking the latest development in the ongoing dispute over gender ideology in the US.

On Thursday, April 25, the Republican-controlled Tennessee Statehouse passed SB 2782, a bill that would criminalize adults assisting minors with obtaining gender-transition services without consent from the child’s parents.

The bill says adults will be penalized for recruiting, harboring, or transporting unemancipated minors in Tennessee in order to help them receive “a prohibited medical procedure” that would enable the child “to identify with or live as a purported identity” that is inconsistent” with their biology or to treat “purported discomfort or distress” experienced from that identify not matching their biology. This includes traveling with a minor to another state to receive gender-affirming care or even directing them to websites or resources where they can learn more about where to access such services.

Class C felony charges will result from violations, and conviction carries three to 15 years in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000. The measure will also make violators “liable in a civil action” from the minor’s family.

The bill passed the state Senate earlier this month, on Wednesday, April 10, by a vote of 26-3. After the House approval, it will now make its way to the desk of Gov. Bill Lee who will most likely sign it into law, considering his past support for banning gender-transition procedures for minors.

The day before the decision to criminalize adults who help minors transition, the state legislature also approved a similar bill that would criminalize helping a minor obtain an abortion without parental consent, making Tennessee the second state to pass such a law. In April 2023, Idaho passed similar legislation that criminalized adults assisting minors with abortions. Tennessee is the first state to apply this kind of law to gender-affirming care for minors.

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