Statement on SB 150


Statement on Senate Bill 150 by 2023 Kentucky Academy of Science President Julie Ann Reizner

The Kentucky Academy of Science (KAS), comprised of membership from across the Commonwealth who educate, mentor, and support Kentucky students of all ages, hereby formally opposes the actions of Kentucky’s current legislature regarding Kentucky SB150. This bill directly ostracizes an already marginalized population of Kentuckians, our LGBTQIA+ youth. It also severely restricts and undermines parental choices under the guise of protecting and supporting parental rights. We refuse to subject our students to the harm and bigotry allowed by this bill, and we will work to protect them. As a scientific society, we hold that our state should respect health professionals as they make decisions for their patients based on the best medical science available.

Kentucky is fast becoming one of our nation’s leaders in scientific developments in aerospace engineering, renewable energy, aquaculture, natural resource sciences, and other areas. KAS members work to educate and mentor students, including LGBTQIA+ youth, who will go on to work in these and other careers in our state, greatly benefitting the economic growth and human richness of our communities. As scientists, we know that the pursuit of scientific knowledge and achievement involves progress, innovation, and diversity of human thought and expertise. Lawmakers displayed a harmful rejection of this progress when they recently voted to pass SB 150.

As many of us are teachers ourselves, we are proud that students feel safe in our classrooms, and every day, we are heartened by how seamlessly our transgender students fit in with their peers. From being born and raised in Kentucky myself, I have never been that surprised by the supportive, open attitudes of young people in our state. However, this bill erodes that safety for all students, and not as a side effect but directly and purposefully. An anonymous friend of mine, a Kentucky parent who recently tragically lost her transgender child to suicide adds, “As a parent we try to create and maintain an environment for our children to survive and thrive. We rely on the decency of others to create safe spaces when our children leave our presence. If their brains don't feel safe, they are biologically unable to focus, problem-solve, or learn. These bills will cripple our children in ways we can't fathom.”

Our college students, research assistants, and field scientists may not be directly subjected to the cruelty of SB 150 because they are no longer minors, but the LGBTQIA+ community is part of our higher education and workforce that contribute to Kentucky’s scientific and economic progress. And since nearly a quarter of Kentucky’s transgender and non-binary kids attempted suicide in 2022, we are concerned that these children may not make it to our classrooms in the first place. This statement therefore serves as a voice of support for all LGBTQIA+ students in Kentucky – we are your teachers, your employers, and sometimes your confidants. We will continue to serve you, especially when others refuse to do so.

KAS strongly opposes passage of SB150, and we respectfully urge the Kentucky General Assembly not to override Governor Beshear’s presumed veto of this bill.