Personal stories mingled with policy debates in the Nebraska legislature Wednesday.
Senator Kathleen Cout is the main promoter of a bill that would ban people under the age of 19 from undergoing surgery or drugs to help them change from one gender to another. Kauth compared young people seeking such help to those with eating disorders.
“If you have a kid who suffers from anorexia nervosa… but you really believe you’re obese, you go to the doctor and say, ‘If I hadn’t had liposuction, or diet pills, or hadn’t been skinny, I wouldn’t have done it. “To kill myself. I have to be who I want to be, that’s skinny.” It will be. Get them signed up for some surgeries….we’re talking about people who don’t see themselves exactly.
Senator Rob Clements, who supports Cout’s bill, said Nebraska already restricted many activities for young people.
“You must be 21 to drink. Underage smoking, gambling, tattoos, tanning beds, etc. are restricted to minors. And I think it makes sense to have a similar item in this bill to protect people under 18,” Clements said.
Sen. John Fredrickson, a clinical social worker who opposed the bill, said safety measures were already in place.
“There is a misconception that these children are making these choices for themselves. says Mr.
Senator Megan Hunt also opposed the bill, calling it a personal insult. Hunt said she has talked about having a 12-year-old transgender son, something she had never done before in a legislative debate.
“But I was so happy to know that I have a son and that my child is growing up and revealing himself to me. And I don’t care what his future holds, what gender expression he wants, I want to have a healthy, happy son, and that’s what transgender youth can do. That’s what every parent feels,” said Hunt.
Hunt added that his son was unable to get puberty blockers.
Several senators said mainstream organizations, including Nebraska and the American Medical Association, supported gender-affirming care and opposed the proposed ban.
But Senator John Rowe said he received letters from two doctors in his hometown of Kearny saying the organizations had financial motives.
“They are wholly owned by big pharmaceutical companies. Every part of the medical-industrial complex is funding transforming children and gleefully turning them into patients for life,” Rowe said. said.
Senator Daniel Conrad opposed the bill and urged colleagues who personally oppose the bill to oppose what she called a hateful and divisive law.
“Instead of dragging Nebraska into the morass of hate, harm and division, find opportunities to move Nebraska forward. Listen to your mind, listen to your heart. Lean, listen to your colleagues, respect your conscience, it’s easy, colleagues, do you have any decency? I look forward to it,” Conrad said.
Senator Myron Dorn, a co-sponsor of the bill, predicted that the issue would not be resolved.
“Let’s look ahead three or four years. Where is this? Will we have the same arguments in this body a few years from now? These are good questions to ponder. This bill passes. If it doesn’t, or if it passes tomorrow, I don’t think that’s the end of the conversation.
A clocher vote, a procedural move to end the debate and vote on the bill itself, is scheduled for Thursday. House Speaker John Arch has suggested that if the bill fails to get the 33 votes he needs to close, he will be left off the agenda for the rest of the year.
Note: You can watch a highlight video of Wednesday’s debate between Senators Megan Hunt and Steve Halloran on the Nebraska Public Media News Facebook page or on Twitter @NebPubMediaNews.