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SB 150 and it’s Misgendering Promotion

Misgendering+and+its+negative+repercussions+gravely+impact+LGBTQ+members.+Feelings+of+unacceptance+and+disrespect+may+fester+affecting+the+psychological+health+of+non-binary+and+transgender+individuals.+Design+by+Dia+Cohen
Dia Cohen
Misgendering and its negative repercussions gravely impact LGBTQ members. Feelings of unacceptance and disrespect may fester affecting the psychological health of non-binary and transgender individuals. Design by Dia Cohen

If you or someone you know are experiencing suicidal thoughts please dial 988 and/or chat online. If you or someone you know are transgender and need peer support please dial 866-488-7386 to contact The Trevor Project and/or visit their website. If you require local assistance please contact Trans Kentucky at 859-448-5428.

While it was introduced to the Kentucky State Senate on February 8, Senate Bill 150 took over a month and a half to be put into effect which was later vetoed by Governor Andy Beshear. Garnering state-wide attention after multiple school walkouts and protests in different cities, including in Frankfort at the State Capital, SB 150 quickly made its way through the State House, Senate, and towards the governor’s office, where it was vetoed.  However, the veto was overridden by the Republican-dominated legislature, who have made their feelings clear after unrelenting attacks towards this underrepresented minority group.  

Despite Beshear’s veto, the LGBTQ community and their allies were conscious of this quicksand happiness amidst the Republican-dominated state government. On the morning of Wednesday, March 3, thousands of transgender and non-binary people, as well as their supporters, stood in front of the capitol beseeching and chanting “to let a veto of one of the nation’s most extreme anti-trans bills stand.” 

Regardless of their pleas and protests, the veto was quickly overridden by the Legislature, with SB 150 passing in both the House, 29-8, and in the Senate, 76-23. 

SB 150 requires schools and students to implement a system where students use bathrooms that align with their gender assigned at birth. The bill prevents any conversation about transitioning, gender identity, and sexual alignment. The bill also permits educators to not use students’ preferred pronouns. 

For RedEye’s fifth edition coverage of SB 150, we will take a closer look over the part of SB 150 concerning the fact that it does not restrict a student or parent from requesting a certain name or pronoun to be used when referring to said student. Instead, the bill gives a teacher the liberty to decide whether they will or will not comply with students’ desires. The freedom this bill allows raises concerns among Manual students about their place at the school and the state. 

“It makes an uncomfortable environment for students and I get physically stressed when I hear my dead name…. It really just is a matter of comfort,” says Asta Finley (11, VA), who uses they/them pronouns. A dead name is the referring to the name a transgender or non-binary individual identified with before transitioning.  

Similarly, a VA junior, who uses the pronouns he/they, said “….even in a place I can be myself, I still can’t be myself to the people I need to be myself to,” when referring to their life at school. “It just makes me feel negative,” they said. The quote above is from an individual who prefers to remain anonymous in order to candidly respond to the effects of this bill. 

Various studies have shown the negative mental and physical impact of being misgendered. Misgendering happens when a person is identified with a name or pronoun that does not align with their gender identity. 

This can be illustrated by Ally Hauber (11, J+C), who goes by any pronouns. They said that “[i]t stresses me out and it makes me uncomfortable when I feel like people exclusively see me as a woman and as a girl because I feel like that is not who I am.” 

According to the Rhapsody of Behavioral Healthcare, individuals who are transgender see pronouns as a confirmation of their gender. Utilizing the right pronoun could help an individual in their journey of acceptance of who they are.

The Trevor Project’s 2022 National Survey on LGBTQ Mental Health demonstrates the growing detriments of the unceasing attacks of bills like SB 150 have had on this community. This project takes a look at 34,000 LGBTQ youth from ages 13 to 24 across the United States. Utilizing their data, it was concluded that 45% of LGBTQ youth had experienced suicidal thoughts. 14% of LGBTQ youth attempted suicide. Additionally, The Trevor Project explains that suicide rates arise from a society where transgender and nonbinary members do not feel safe or supported. Therefore, with this torrent of unmasked enmity towards this community concerns and suicide rates will continue to rise.

The bill also raises concerns among teachers, “I am very concerned that the impact of this part of the law will further strain the relationship-building process between a trans student and a teacher that chooses not to use the student’s preferred pronoun.” said Harsh Upadhyay, a math teacher at Manual. A similar sentiment is expressed by Michael Starling, a science teacher at Manual, who explained that this strain might infringe on a student’s learning process.

As summed up by Asta Finley, SB 150, in general “….is so horrific and…being there when they passed it and hearing what they were saying makes me think [lawmakers] haven’t even read the bill themselves.”

This story is a part of continuous coverage.

About the Contributors
Dia Cohen, Photo and Design Editor
Dia Cohen is the Photo and Design Editor for Manual RedEye this year. She loves to read, play piano, draw and stargaze. She is passionate about covering criminal justice issues. In short, she's a real renaissance woman. You can contact her at [email protected].
Katie Dikes, Staffer
Katie Dikes is a staffer on Manual RedEye. She loves to write about all things sports, as well as covering Manual athletic events. In her spare time, she loves to listen to 80's music, watch any and everything sports-related, bake, binge Netflix, and read cheesy romance novels. You can contact her at [email protected].
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    JonNov 2, 2023 at 7:10 am

    Nice story but are there some first amendment issues here as well? SB 150 is legislature (law) so it could be contrasted against the foundational bill of rights.

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