Instead of doing one single thing to help their constituents and kids, Republicans across the nation are laser-focused on eradicating trans folks. It is no different here in Nebraska, where anti-trans legislation introduced by Ricketts appointee Kathleen Kauth and backed by every hate group in the state is causing many families to live in distress and fear. This bill, LB574, seeks to ban gender-affirming care, including life-saving counseling, for children. At the hearing for LB574, every single proponent was able to speak their hate and conspiracy theories, but when it came time for trans folks and their families to speak and plead for their literal lives, Senator Ben Hansen shut down comments and sent everyone home, leaving many people who had been waiting for 7+ hours to speak devastated and ignored by the people who are supposed to represent them. Below is the testimony of one of the people who was denied their right to speak.
If you were denied your right to speak at this hearing (or just want to share your story) and would like us to share your testimony, please send it to SeeingRedNE@protonmail.com. We can share your story anonymously if you would prefer. At this time we are prioritizing submissions from trans folks and their families (chosen or otherwise).
Testimony on LB574 by Dana Maaske
My name is Dana Maaske, and I am from District 29 in Lincoln, NE. I was born and raised in Lincoln as were all of my three children, now ages 20, 20, and 15. My husband is from western NE but has been in Lincoln since the late 90’s for college. We bought our first home in 2006 and have lived there since. Our yard is a certified pollinator and wildlife habitat as well as a monarch butterfly waystation. We are both UNL graduates. I recently started a new small business. We give regularly to community organizations and have paid taxes and will be paying them (and our tuition in the form of student loans) for the rest of our lives here. Our children now work and pay taxes here. We are an asset to this community and to the state of Nebraska and we will continue to be; unless legislative bill 574 is passed.
Growing up here I couldn’t wait to get out of the midwest, as I was sure there were better and more exciting things on the coasts. But as I got older and had a family things changed. I began to appreciate the safety, simplicity, familiarity and slower pace of Lincoln and midwestern life. I also am fully aware that my experience here would be very different if I or members of my family weren’t white and straight-passing.
Our youngest kid came out to us as trans about a year and a half ago. The two or so years leading up to his coming out were extremely difficult for him as he wrestled with gender dysphoria and trying to understand why he felt so out-of-place in his changing body. When he finally came out to me, I was so relieved that he had not only figured out the source of his despair, but also that it was a treatable condition. I was comforted knowing that even though he would likely face hate and bigotry in our ever-regressing society, I knew we had access to the best gender-affirming care in the state relatively close to us up at UNMC. And after we found an amazing psychologist and counseling team at Kindred Psychology here in Lincoln, things started to get better. His grades improved and his once completely depleted confidence levels were through the roof. About 6 months later he started hormone therapy and a few months after that, we had our kid back. I don’t know if any of you have ever lost connection with your child due to depression, grief, or PTSD; but seeing them smile and be happy again after years of confusion, self-harm, and heartbreak- it’s priceless.
There’s nothing I won’t do to keep that smile on my kid’s face. If legislative bill 574 is passed, that will mean moving out of our beloved community and home state of Nebraska because not only will it prohibit our son from receiving the life saving, gender affirming care that he is thankfully able to receive now. Half of our family is also neurodivergent, including myself, and I cannot explain the fear it causes me just at the thought of moving out of my home of 17 years. LB 574 won’t just negatively impact our family either. Thousands of people will be affected and missing their families and employees that have had to move to seek life-saving care for their children in other states. And the tax money goes with them. Or, the more likely scenario, these kids won’t get the treatment and support that they need and we will lose them, permanently. Do not for one second misunderstand that this bill will result in trans youth suicides- how is that letting them grow?
The senators introducing this bill are not trained psychologists, counselors, nor medical doctors. No transgender people, their families, loved ones, nor their gender affirming care providers were consulted in the formation of this bill. How do senators Kauth, Aguilar, Albrecht, Bostelman, Brewer, Clements, DeKay, Doran, Dover, Erdman, Halloran, Hardin, Holdcroft, Hughes, Ibach, Jacobsen, Linehan, Lippincott, Lowe, McDonnel, Murman, Sanders, and von Gillern think they know better than an educated and experienced interdisciplinary team of doctors, psychologists, and counselors specifically trained in their respective positions? Newsflash, they don’t.
This bill, LB574, and all the other hateful, transphobic bills shamefully coming up in the Nebraska legislature in the near future are nothing more than another disgusting attempt at virtue signaling by republicans to pander to their hateful, christofascist “conservative” voter base. It’s happening all across the country. And let’s be real; anti-trans legislation is just the distraction du jour. These senators don’t care about trans kids. They care about votes and reelection. One of our other kids is a type one diabetic. These legislators wouldn’t dream of outlawing her access to insulin because she would die, and that’s immoral right? To deny a person medical care they need to survive? That is exactly what LB574 will do; deny my son and other children like him the care he needs not just to grow, but to survive.
This is why I am pleading with you please DO NOT ADVANCE THIS BILL OUT OF COMMITTEE AND OPPOSE LB574. Thank you for your time.