Two Nebraska senators have vowed to filibuster the entire remaining legislative session after a bill seeking to ban experimental sex changes for under 19-year-olds was approved Thursday by a vote of 33-16.
Senator Michaela Cavanaugh filibustered for three weeks in a bid to prevent the bill being voted on, but then made the decision to allow the vote to go ahead to show who “has blood on their hands,” reports the Daily Mail.
After the bill was approved, Senator Megan Hunt, who had revealed Wednesday that her 12-year-old child identifies as transgender, announced her intention to filibuster all future bills.
“We've made it clear that this is a line in the sand, and people have said, well, what if we go after your bills? What if we put a bunch of bills introduced by progressives up on the agenda? Are you going to filibuster those too? Yes, because we're not like you,” said Hunt.
“We have a principle and a value that actually matters that much to us that we're willing to stand up for. This is how much this matters to us. You guys really don't get it. You really don't get that the session is over,” she added.
The impassioned mother said the bill caused an irreparable harm and told those who had voted in favor that she wanted nothing more to do with them.
“Don't say 'hi' to me in the hall. Don't ask me how my weekend was. Don't walk by my desk and ask me anything. Don't send me Christmas card. Take me off the list. You don't know me. We have no relationship,” said Hunt.
“No one in the world holds a grudge like me. And no one in the world cares less about being petty than me. I don't care. I don't like you. You weren't welcome in my space. You aren't a safe person for my child to be around. Or any child frankly.”
Kauth, the bill’s sponsor, has accused Cavanaugh and Hunt of seeking the spotlight.
“We knew it would be very, very difficult,” Kauth said in an interview with Washington Watch. “It’s an incredibly emotional topic. Everyone believes that they are acting in the best interest of children. We’re just looking at it from very different sides.”
On the subject of opponents likening those supporting the bill to Nazis and recent accusations of genocide, Kauth responded that it was “obnoxious hyperbole to get a lot of national media attention.”
Kauth told the chamber that the intention of the bill was to protect children.
“There are no long-term studies proving that these procedures and prescriptions resolve the gender dysphoria,” she said.
“And there are studies, in countries with much greater experience in gender transitions, that advocate watchful waiting because the risk for youth to receive these prescriptions and procedures is simply too great.”
According to the Daily Mail, Senator Brian Hardin and Senator Brad von Giller both told the legislature that they believed there were only two genders and that transgender individuals do not exist.
Senator Steve Halloran likened parents who refuse to allow their children to undergo sex change procedures to parents who refuse to allow their children to drink alcohol.
“By today's standards, I would be, and my wife would be, abusive parents. That’s a tough admission to make,” he said. “Because at the time, as adults in the room, our children would come to us with a suggestion of doing this or that, and we would point out to them the risks of doing this or that.”
“Whether it was having a party at some friend's house, and that friend's house was known for having drinking parties. And of course our children are underage. We would say no.”
Hunt argued that because her own child had not been able to access an experimental sex change in the state, the whole issue was “scare tactics.”
“My child has not been able to get gender-affirming care. There aren't counselors making kids trans; there aren't counselors telling parents you have to get your kids on these drugs or else they're going to kill themselves,” she told the chamber. “This is scare tactics. It's satanic panic. There's no truth to it because I lived it. I'm an affirming parent. We did everything right that you're supposed to do and my kid could not get gender-affirming care.”
She added: "I want to have a happy, healthy son like every parent of a trans youth feels."
Hunt said that many of those engaged in the debate did not understand the reality her family faced.
In February, the committee heard powerful testimony from several detranstioners, who spoke of the regret that they feel about having undergone sex change interventions when they were young and believed themselves to be transgender.
Luka Hein, a detransitioned young woman from Nebraska, told of being a mentally ill teenager in need of help but instead only receiving affirmation, surgery and cross-sex hormones.
“At 16, the very first medical intervention I ever had was a double mastectomy. And a few months later, I was put on cross sex hormones,” Hein said, adding that she does not yet know whether she’ll ever be able to have children.
"My parents were baited with the threat of me committing suicide despite the fact that I maintained I was never suicidal. They were told ‘would you rather have a dead daughter or living son?’ These are not the words of a medical professional but the words of an activist.”
When Senator Cavanaugh tweeting about her extended filibuster, and her intention to “burn the session to the ground,” Hein replied: “I really hope the ego boost you’re getting is worth all the vulnerable kids you’re selling out to an experimental medical industry. You science denying ideologue.”
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