Your Actions Show Your Priorities – And Tennessee Shows That The GOP’s First One Is Discrimination

In the last few months, you might have heard a lot of people — particularly politicians — try to divert the discussion away from social issues and to the economy. Perhaps there will be some sprinkles of "they won’t be that bad" on that big old bowl of privilege, just to ease their guilt about not prioritizing the lives and rights of people who aren’t like them. [1]

In an ongoing pattern of saying the quiet parts out loud, the GOP in Tennessee demonstrated exactly how much of a lie that was — and to the detriment of those who believed their lies about the economy being a priority.

In a state that ranks 41st in poverty, with one in six Tennesseans living in poverty (source), the literal first thing that GOP leadership did after the election was to introduce absolutely pointless discriminatory anti-trans legislation.

"Tennessee lawmakers on Wednesday proposed a ban on gender-affirming care in the form of a bill that would allow children to later sue their parents for providing them such treatment and subject doctors to punishment up to a generation after knowingly violating the law."

"House Bill 1 and Senate Bill 1 calls for bans on medical procedures that alter minors’ hormonal balance and procedures that remove organs when, ‘performed for the purpose of enabling a minor to identify with, orlive as, a purported identity inconsistent with the minor’s sex or treating purported discomfort or distress from a discordance between the minor’s sex and asserted identity.’"

-The Tennessean

They would allow the courts to impose $25K fines for each "violation" and allow the Attorney General — not necessarily the person who had the treatment — to go after providers up to twenty years later.

This is the legislative truck nuts of performative insecure masculinity.

It’s quite simple, really. I’m willing to bet that if you asked each of those lawmakers when they "decided" to be "male" or "female," they’d say that they always knew. In which case, they just made a great case that transpeople also know what gender they are at the same ages.

So… children can know their own gender, but only if it matches what you think their gender should be? Man, talk about arrogance.

And ignorance, since the National Center for Transgender Equality’s own guidelines for necessary provider letters says that they should include "a statement that, in the doctor’s professional opinion, the treatment is medically necessary and the appropriate step in the course of care for the patient’s gender dysphoria," as well as "in some cases, the letter should also discuss why other treatments that the patient has already received, like counseling, hormone therapy, or previous surgeries, have not fully resolved the patient’s gender dysphoria." This kind of care is not, and has never been something that is approached trivially.

And, for that matter, what a stance for the "small government" party to take — the only people who get to express their gender identity are the ones the government decides gets to express their gender identity, regardless of how that harms that person, and regardless of what a team of medical professionals say. [2]

But hey. What do I expect. This is the same Tennessee GOP that was in such a rush to try to make marriage some kind of special gender-specific deal that they forgot — or left outlittle details like a minimum age.

I mean, you would hope that it was an oversight.

But these are the people so focused on children that they’re rushing to put those children at higher risk of depression and suicide in order to "protect" them, so draw your own conclusions.

[1] If you are able to say that you can overlook a politician’s views on things like abortion, LGBTQIA+ rights, and BiPoC equality, then you are speaking from a position of privilege, whether you recognize it or not.
[2] Once again, the hypocrisy from the party that wrung their hands that Obamacare would "take away patient’s choice" is just breathtakingly arrogant.

Featured photo by Kyle on Unsplash

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