When Matt Walsh revealed that medical personnel at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville were prescribing drugs and hormones and permanently altering minors' bodies, state Senator Jack Johnson (R) was compelled to submit the Protecting Children from Gender Mutilation Act to bring that to a halt.
"I filed legislation, Senate Bill 1 and House Bill 1, that would make those types of procedures a prohibited medical practice in Tennessee, meaning any healthcare provider who performs such a surgery or prescribes that type of medication would lose their medical license," Johnson details.
He says the legislation is about protecting children, who "under no circumstances" should be allowed to undergo "irreversible elective procedures to mutilate their body parts and intentionally harm their reproductive systems."
Many of the state's Republican leaders have called for an investigation into the private nonprofit hospital after videos surfaced on social media of a doctor touting that so-called gender-affirming procedures are "huge money makers." Another video showed a staffer saying anyone with a religious objection should quit. The Associated Press noted last month, though, that none of the politicians could point to a specific law that the hospital had violated, and no agency had committed to an investigation.
Sen. Johnson tells AFN that his measure, which would effectively bar doctors from prescribing puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones and performing gender-related surgeries on minors for the purpose of "gender transition," is enjoying an "overwhelming" degree of support in both houses.
"Naturally there has been fairly significant backlash from certain elements of the Left in opposition to this legislation, and as often happens, a lot of mischaracterization of the legislation," he adds.
For example, some claim trans treatments would be completely banned if the measure is approved and signed into law, but Johnson asserts that is not true; it would only require that doctors not perform such things on children.
"The legislature determines that medical procedures that alter a minor's hormonal balance, remove a minor's sex organs, or otherwise change a minor's physical appearance are harmful to a minor when these medical procedures are performed for the purpose of enabling a minor to identify with, or live 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," reads House Bill 1.
The legislation would also allow patients and their families to sue a healthcare provider for damages for knowingly violating the law, and minors could bring a civil cause of action against parents who helped facilitate their child's "medical transition."
LifeSiteNews notes that an exception is made for providing hormones and/or surgeries for children born with chromosomal anomalies or congenital defects that result in developmental sex conditions.
The 113th Tennessee General Assembly, where the bill is expected to be passed into law, is scheduled to convene on January 10, 2023.
As other countries are stepping away from helping minors transition to a different gender, and as the Florida Board of Medicine has voted to end minor sex-change operations, the Biden administration continues to make it clear that it supports such practices, namely by promoting and encouraging transgenderism in public schools.
Alarmed at the drag show performances that have occurred throughout the country and in his home state, Sen. Johnson is also taking action to protect children from those.
"Some of these drag shows that have included sexually explicit conduct have taken place in public parks or in libraries and other places where kids are present," he relays. "If you can't take your kid to a strip club or to a venue where that type of sexually explicit entertainment is taking place, then why in the world should they be able to perform that type of entertainment in a public setting where kids can be present?"
Johnson asserts that theatre performances such as "Mrs. Doubtfire" or "Tootsie" would be completely legal under Senate Bill 3. Its premise relies on defining drag shows as "adult cabaret" performances, which would not be completely banned.
"It does not ban male or female impersonation; what it does is it bans those types of performances where there is sexually explicit conduct" and children are present, he explains. "All one has to do is a simple internet search, and you'll find videos of where that has taken place and there are kids present, and that's what I'm trying to stop."
The Tennessee Star notes that the city of Jackson itself sponsored an "all-ages" drag show earlier this year, and Action News 5 in Memphis reports that OUTMemphis, an LGBTQ group, is criticizing Senate Bill 3, saying drag performances teach youths about gender diversity, expression, acceptance, and affirmation.
The bill is set to be discussed by the Tennessee General Assembly during its upcoming session, and Sen. Johnson believes there will be overwhelming support in the legislature and among constituents for this measure as well.