Senator filibusters ‘Let Them Grow’ bill

Elijah Carrera Editor in Chief

Senator Megan Hunt attempts to slow anti-trans bills introduced by Senator Kathleen Kauth from becoming law.

Bills LB 574 Let Them Grow Act, and LB 575 Sports and Safe Spaces Act were introduced Jan. 17th. Bill 574 prohibits gender affirming surgeries before the age of 19 with violators being prosecuted, and bill 575 prohibits athletes from participating in sports designated for the gender opposite of their assigned gender. LB 574 was advanced to a final reading April 18, and 575 was indefinitely postponed. The bills were introduced by Senator Kathleen Kauth to prevent children from making irreversible alterations to their bodies, saying most states have designed laws for this very purpose.

“Because their bodies need very specific things to happen in the body to basically get the full benefit of puberty and the surgeries alter someone’s body irreparably before their brains are even fully developed, and you change your mind a lot as young adults,” Kauth said.

Reasons for objection were included in the minority statement. The definition of gender, sex, gender-altering surgery, and gender-altering procedure found in the bill is not consistent with health care professionals’ definitions. The bill states that no funds shall be allowed for gender-affirming surgeries, including Medicaid. The minority group states federal law dictates that any person under 21 is entitled to service covered by Medicaid.

“My colleagues and I have been filibustering every single bill up for debate in the legislature. This steady undercutting of the rights of Nebraskans is unacceptable and we will fight it every step of the way. As long as these efforts to limit our rights continue, so will the filibuster. Those who have introduced these hateful, bigoted bills hold the sole responsibility for this ongoing filibuster,” Hunt said.

On the side pushing for the advancement, Kauth argues that the possibility of desisting is too uncertain.  

“Yes, most because 85% of kids who experience gender dysmorphia wind up desisting and there is no way to tell. There is no test, no blood test. There is no way to tell who will wind up continuing on, and who will wind up desisting. Which again, you can’t undo them. It’s not a good idea,” Kauth said.

However, according to 27 studies collected by the Associated Press, out of 8,000 young adults and teens in Europe, America, and Canada, only 1% of that population ended up expressing regret about transitioning, and even less than that reversed their transition. 

“I believe that both bills go against everything I stand for. Banning affirming health care surgeries before 19 really limits what a lot of people can do, and many like to get the surgeries younger so they have more time to enjoy being in their preferred body,” trans student Luke Hause said.

Last month, hundreds of Omaha Central students protested and made local news headlines. This year, there have been dozens of protests across the nation, and thousands rallied in San Francisco for the cause of trans rights. Hunt encourages those in opposition to the bills to take action. 

“Show up at the Capitol. Be present. Attend rallies. The only acceptable response to these overreaching, human rights abuses is sustained outrage. Now is the time to get engaged with local orgs like OutNebraska; now is the time to be in constant contact with representatives who are on the fence or have voted for the bills, now is the time to be protesting and making our voices heard. We need constant, prolonged, sustained outrage,” Hunt said.