As the Legislature continues to try to pass anti-trans legislation as part of a nation-wide scripted effort by a national anti-LGBTQ hate group to erase trans people, we are continuing to share the stories of the children and families they are directly harming. Many of these families were denied their right to testify on this bill as the hearing was cut short by Senator Ben Hansen. Senator Dorn told a constituent he had removed his name from LB574, the bill that would ban gender-affirming care for kids, then he backtracked and said he did not remove his name, but he did have “concerns” about the bill. If you would like to share your testimony or story, please email it to SeeingRedNE@protonmail.com. We can share anonymously if you wish. Please also be sure to share your story with Senator Dorn.
Dear Senator Dorn,
I am informed that you have removed your name from LB574, and I whole-heartedly thank you for that decision. I am also told that you are interested in hearing from trans individuals and their families. For this reason, I’m sending you my testimony on this bill here. Unfortunately, I was unable to deliver it in person due to testimony time being cut short. I am also copying Senator Raybould (whose district I live in), and Senators Machaela Cavanaugh and Day on this email, whose efforts to protect children like my son have been too invaluable to express my thanks for in words adequately.
My name is Carmen Smith and I am here today to testify in opposition to LB574.
I am here as a mom of four boys, one of which was assigned female at birth. To be brutally honest, I’ve always dreamed of raising a daughter. Not necessarily to dress her in frilly dresses — which even I, a cisgender woman was always uncomfortable wearing as a child — but because I dreamed of a close mother-daughter relationship in which we exchange secrets, give each other advice, in which she would let me partake in the motherly experience of raising my grandchildren someday.
So, when my son came out to my husband and me as transgender, I mourned the daughter I lost — or maybe I should say “the daughter I never had.” Because that is the most important lesson that I learned as a parent throughout my son’s journey to live *his* life: Neither he nor any of my other children owe me anything. They don’t owe me grandchildren, living up to *my* expectations of them, or choosing the life that I dreamed for them. I certainly can have hopes for what the life they choose may look like, but what I owe them is to guide them in making their own choices, learn from their mistakes, and become independent, autonomous, and happy human beings who are comfortable with the life they made. Isn’t that the true meaning of “letting them grow”?
My son didn’t “decide” to be my son. He always *was* my son, just as he always was a measured, thoughtful individual, who questions how things work, is interested in technology, argues with his brothers, and fosters friendships dating back to elementary school. There is no more sense in convincing him to have different interests than there is in forcing him to be my daughter. That is not who he already is, and as his parent, I foster his ability to live his life to the fullest, and I expect the government to not interfere in my parenting, which is exactly what this bill does.
LB574 is not only a gross violation of my parental right to confer with the doctor I chose and trust to provide healthcare for my child, but it is also a gross violation of children’s rights to have access to necessary medical treatment, as recommended by a team of doctors that have spoken with my child, with me, my husband, and each other about the best options. Throughout this years-long process, at any point would I, as a parent, have had the right to say “no” to medical treatment. My son’s gender-affirming treatment, at every step, would have been impossible for him to pursue without my consent along the way. This is the medical decision-making right you are taking from parents with this bill. I had the right to say “yes, I trust my child, my child’s doctors, and their medical expertise.” LB574 will take this right of parents to decide in conjunction with medical experts away from them. This bill is nothing but the government’s interference in parents’ and doctors’ decision making rights regarding medical matters. Just as I have the right to choose glasses, contacts, or Lasik surgery to treat his vision problems (or none of them), so too should the right to treat my son’s gender dysphoria be left to me and his doctors, not the government arbitrarily deciding which medical treatments I am allowed to choose, and, I must add, pay for myself.
I’ve watched my son grow from a self-conscious, anxious, and visibly uncomfortable teenager into an accomplished, self-confident, and happy young man. And yes, we have the same close mother-son bond that I had dreamed of, because his gender does not determine our relationship. He is the kind of determined, driven, professional young adult that Nebraska should be proud to have. Instead, LB574 and other anti-trans bills like it have shown him that Nebraska does not want him here and that this state does not want him to continue to grow into the person he actually is. So he is looking to move to a place where he feels safer, and where he can be sure to continue to have access to the medication he needs. A place where he can actually grow, and simply exist.
Thank you for listening, and I look forward to your reply and to answer any questions you may have.