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ACLU tracking dozens of anti-LGBTQ bills heading through TN and KY legislatures

The ACLU said 26 anti-LGBTQ bills are going through the Tennessee legislature, while 11 are going through the Kentucky legislature.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The American Civil Liberties Union is tracking over 400 bills making their way through state legislatures across the U.S. that involved the LGBTQ community.

They said 26 bills targeting the LGBTQ community were filed in Tennessee. Some of those have already become law, such as a ban on public drag performances and a ban on gender-affirming care for minors. Other bills in the state have already passed the House of Representatives.

One bill that would allow government employees to refuse solemnizing marriages based on personal beliefs passed the House on March 6. However, the discussion on that bill was deferred to January 2024 in the Senate. 

Another bill that would require paid drag performers to get a permit before they take the stage also passed the House and is expected to be discussed in a Senate committee on March 21.

One bill that prevents transgender people from changing their driver's licenses and birth certificates passed the state Senate and would endanger around $1.2 billion in federal education funding and $750,000 in federal grants. 

Another anti-transgender bill would restrict healthcare organizations that contract with TennCare from providing gender-affirming care — regardless of whether that care is in the state. That bill has not yet been voted on in either the House or the Senate.

The ACLU also said 11 anti-LGBTQ bills were filed in Kentucky. One bill, HB 470, would effectively ban gender-affirming care for minors in the state. It passed in the state House.

Another bill would require student-athletes in Kentucky to only play on sports teams aligning with the sex listed on their original birth certificate, or the sex listed on an affidavit signed by a physician who conducts annual medical examinations on them. It also specifically blocks transgender girls from playing on girls' teams but does not restrict who can play on coed or boys' teams.

That bill passed the Senate.

SB 150 also passed the Senate and would require schools to provide listings about their health services related to "sexuality, contraception or family planning" to families. Schools would also need to tell families about how they could waive a student's right to access those services.

The Human Rights Campaign also said it could force teachers to disclose the student's LGBTQ identity to their parents, possibly making it more difficult for them to seek mental and physical health from adults in the school.

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