Tennessee Passes Legislation Criminalizing Adults Helping Minors Seek ‘Gender-Affirming Care’

Tennessee lawmakers recently passed legislation to criminalize adults who help children seek gender-reassignment surgery without parental consent.

The bill comes after the Tennessee legislature voted to prohibit so-called “gender-affirming care” for minors.

Senate Bill 2782 passed the state House by a vote of 63-16 and was sponsored by state Sen. Janice Bowling (D). The legislation would make it a felony offense for an adult to recruit, harbor or transport a minor in the state of Tennessee to provide them with the ability to undergo medical procedures aimed at altering their biological gender.

Violators will be charged with a class C felony, carrying a prison sentence of up to 15 years and fines of $10,000. The legislation states that such individuals could be held liable in a civil action lawsuit.

The Post Millennial pointed out that civil action could be sought by a parent or legal guardian of the unemancipated minor, allowing the plaintiff to recover compensatory damages, punitive damages, reasonable legal fees, court costs and expenses, according to the bill.

“This is a parent’s rights bill, nothing more, nothing less,” state Rep. Bryan Richey (R), the sponsor of the legislation, said during a House debate. “At the end of the day, parents should have final say what medical procedures their children are receiving, and nobody else.”

The legislation comes after the Tennessee Senate introduced an amendment to House Bill 2310, which passed in the GOP-controlled state legislature. The bill must now be signed by Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee (R).

In February 2024, the state voted to prohibit “gender reassignment surgeries” for minors. Not only that, but lawmakers also banned drag performances from occurring within 1,000 feet of public parks or places of worship and schools.

In the U.S., more than 20 states have enacted bans or restrictions on so-called “gender-affirming care.”