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Legislation Passes To Protect Children And Family Values

Updated: Jul 4

This information is provided courtesy of the office of 28th District State Sen. Joey Hensley, MD, R-Hohenwald , who represents Giles, Lewis and parts of Marshall, Maury and Williamson counties.

Prohibiting Gender Transition Surgeries And Irreversible Hormone Treatments For Minors

  • Tennessee lawmakers have been at the forefront of the fight to stop hormone treatments in children to change their gender identity. 

  • Tennessee led the nation when we took our first steps to ban hormone treatment for children.

  • Since then, we have expanded those efforts and now under current law, medical “transition” surgeries that remove body parts to enable the minor to identify as a gender different from their biological sex are banned.

  • Our law also bans administering hormones to minors to treat gender dysphoria.

  • The law ensures that doctors can still prescribe hormone treatment to minors for medically necessary purposes and makes exceptions for children born with chromosomal anomalies or congenital defects.

Protecting Children From Sexually Explicit Performances

  • A law prohibited performance of sexually explicit adult entertainment in front of children or where children could be present.

  • The law banned obscene performances from taking place in public parks or private venues that are non-age-restricted.

  • Any establishment that chooses to have sexually explicit shows must require proof of age to enter to ensure patrons are 18 years or older.

  • A violation of this bill would result in a Class A misdemeanor and a second or subsequent offense would result in a Class E felony.

Protecting Children From Harmful Online Content

  • The Protecting Children from Social Media Act restores parental authority online by requiring social media companies to verify ages of account holders and obtain parental consent for minors to create a social media account.

  • To curb access to online pornography for minors, The Protect Tennessee Minors Act requires online media companies and operators to verify users’ ages to access sites with explicit adult content.

Safeguarding Parental Authority

  • To protect children from indoctrination by ideologies in conflict with values taught by their parents, the Family Rights and Responsibilities Act explicitly outlines 12 fundamental rights of parents, including the responsibilities to make education, healthcare, moral and religious decisions for their child.

  • A law requires schools to notify parents if their child asks for accommodations in school to affirm their gender identity.

  • Created a Class C felony for knowingly taking a minor across state lines without parental consent for the minor to receive a medical procedure prohibited in Tennessee.

Keeping Inappropriate Material Out Of Public Schools

  • The General Assembly passed a law making it a Class E felony offense to knowingly sell or distribute obscene material to a public school.

  • A law was passed that required the State Textbook and Instructional Materials Quality Commission to issue guidance for LEAs and charter schools to use when reviewing materials in a library to ensure that materials are appropriate for the age and maturity levels of students who will access them.

Blocking Obscene Materials On School Computers

  • This law requires vendors to block inappropriate content on school computers.

  • If failure to comply, then a LEA may withhold further payments to the provider and ultimately consider non-compliance a breach of contract.

Protecting Free Speech In Schools Regarding Use Of “Preferred” Pronouns

  • This law prevents holding teachers and school districts civilly liable if they refuse to use pronouns inconsistent with a student’s biological sex.

  • Furthermore, schools and school districts cannot bring disciplinary or adverse employment action against a teacher if they choose to use pronouns consistent with a student’s biological sex.

Ensuring Fairness In Girls’ Sports

  • For many years, Tennessee lawmakers advanced efforts to protect girls’ and women’s sports by prohibiting biological males from competing in female sports.

  • Due to these legislative efforts, since 2023, biological males have been prohibited from competing in Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association (TSSAA) girls’ sports at public and private schools.

  • Girls can compete in boys’ sports if there is no girls’ team at the school.

  • This work began in 2021, when legislation was approved to protect girls’ sports by ensuring students compete in athletic competitions that correspond with their sex at birth.

  • The next year, the General Assembly further clarified the law and passed legislation to prohibit biological males from participating in girls’ sports in public K-12 education institutions.

  • If a middle or high school failed to comply, a portion of state funds would be withheld.

  • Also, a law was passed to prohibit biological males from competing in women’s’ sports on the collegiate level.

Biological Sex Clarified In Law

  • In Tennessee code, “sex” is defined as a person’s immutable biological sex as determined by anatomy and genetics at the time of birth and evidence of their biological sex.

  • According to the law, evidence of a person’s biological sex includes government-issued identification that accurately reflects a person’s sex listed on their original birth certificate.

Protecting Religious Beliefs Of Marriage Officiants

  • A law clarifies that any marriage officiant has the option to object to solemnizing marriages based on personal or religious beliefs.

  • Sen. Hensley may be contacted at 425 Rep. John Lewis Way N., Suite 742, Nashville, TN., 37243, or call 615-741-3100, or call t oll free 1-800-449-8366 extension 13100, or fax 615-253-0231. His district address is 855 Summertown Highway, Hohenwald, Tn., 38462, and he may be reached by phone at 931-796-2018, by cell at 931-212-8823 or by e-mail: sen. joey gov


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