Local grassroots groups encourage legislators not to override veto of ‘anti-trans’ bill

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Two meetings were held at the Newport branch of the Campbell County library Sunday and Monday evenings to encourage local residents to contact legislators, asking them not to override the veto of Senate Bill 150, which bans gender-affirming care for transgender children.

The meetings were held seemingly spontaneously, although at least one professional advocacy organization, Northern Kentucky Inclusive Students in Education, or NISE, helped supply materials, such as stat sheets and other promotional literature, for the events. When LINK nky visited the group on Monday, the people who organized the previous day’s session were not present.

One person, Nancy Bardgett, a Fort Thomas teacher and former Democratic candidate for Kentucky’s House of Representatives 68th district, was present at Monday’s event to help the attendees contact their elected representatives through proper channels.

Bardgett had begun receiving emails from people in the community who wanted somehow to affect the outcome of the bill’s passage. Rather than answer everyone individually, she thought she would try and get information out all at once when she heard about the meetings at the library.

“I’m not organizing it,” she said, claiming that the event came about as a response to community inquiries as opposed to her own efforts.

The bill, which bans gender-affirming care for children and establishes school policy mandates for transgender students, passed out of the General Assembly on March 16. Gov. Andy Beshear vetoed the bill on Friday, but the legislature can now override the veto if a majority of lawmakers in both houses vote to do so.

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Bardgett has a gay son and a transgender daughter. Both are adults. She worries that if the bill becomes law, it would not only deny transgender students from necessary help but also paint a target on their backs.

If the bill passes, she said, and a trans student tries to get help from a teacher, nurse or other school staff member, there would be “absolutely no resources.”

“All this does is trying to put these kids in a silo and say, OK, these are the bad kids,” she said. “Go ahead and bully them.”

She encouraged the attendees to contact their elected representatives, even if they initially voted for the bill, citing a recently released poll, which suggested that 71% of Kentuckians were not in favor of the legislation.

The poll surveyed 625 registered Kentucky voters from various backgrounds and demographics. The poll asked people a single question:

“Would you support or oppose a proposed Kentucky law that would allow the state to overrule parents’ decisions to obtain certain health care for their transgender teenager, such as certain medications that can regulate the onset of puberty?”

Kentuckians were broadly opposed to the described legislation–83% of registered Democrats, 62% of registered Republicans and 67% of independents answered that they would oppose such a law.

Question and response data: provided | Mason & Dixon Polling & Strategy. Chart by Nathan Granger

Jessy Stamates, who claimed to know members of the board at NISE, said that she attended the event to learn how to help.

“We don’t want the veto overturned,” Stamates said as she looked through a list of state senators and representatives.

Other people were at the meeting, but they did not wish to comment.

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Bardgett said she didn’t want to be the face of the efforts but rather wanted to “give people a voice.”

“I never tell people what to write,” Bardgett said. “I tell them the kinds of things that might be effective, but I want them to tell their story.”

Lawmakers have until the end of the legislative session on March 31 to override Gov. Beshear’s veto.

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