State Representative Jason Zachary Leads Legislation to Stop Gender Reassignment Surgeries in Tennessee

Live from Music Row, Friday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed State Representative Jason Zachary (R-Knox County) to the newsmaker line to discuss the ACLU’s lawsuit threat to Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare’s failure to maintain a schedule gender reassignment surgery and his legislature to maintain such surgeries halt in the state of Tennessee.

Leahy: We are joined on the newsmaker line right now by State Representative Jason Zachary, a friend from East Tennessee, who represents, I believe, the 14th district in the Tennessee House of Representatives.

He’s been a key player in the introduction of legislation that will be addressed in January prohibiting hospitals in Tennessee from conducting gender mutilation surgery on children under the age of 18. Welcome, Representative Zachary. Thanks for joining us this morning.

Zachary: Good morning. Thanks for having me.

Leahy: We’ve been friends for a long time, and you’ve got a lot of common sense, Jason. And to me, this is an obvious no-brainer. Kids under the age of 18 don’t have fully developed brains, and they haven’t really thought things through, and they’re really not capable of making the kinds of decisions that will alter their lives forever, such as having genitals that they were born with removed. Tell us about the legislation, and then I want to get into some of the craziness coming out of the ACLU about this.

Zachary: Sure. You’re exactly right, Michael. This is a social contagion sweeping across our country, targeting children. And if you’re a person of faith, which I am, I am a Christ follower, I really see this as the enemy Satan, looking to come and steal, kill, and destroy. And he’s doing it to our kids.

And if you’re not a person of faith, sometimes that doesn’t make sense. But those of us who have faith see this exactly for what it is. And if you look at just the numbers themselves, has a study they put out related to gender dysphoria diagnosis in minors. It has doubled from 2019 to 2020, when it’s gone from 21,000 to 42,000 in just two years.

Leahy: Gender dysphoria is a supposed medical condition where children aren’t sure what their gender is. Maybe it’s different; they think than what they were born with. It seems to me. But this isn’t science-based. This is all social contagion, as you say.

Zachary: That’s right. That’s exactly right. And it’s sweeping across our country, and we as Tennesseans and we as the legislature say, no, not here. We’re going to put a stop to it. Vanderbilt and what happened with Vandy, and I won’t go through all that because of our limited time, but that was the catalyst.

And so I’m thankful for Leader Lamberth and Leader Johnson, who both took the mantle and said, hey, we’ll carry it. We’ll run this. We’ll file this bill right now so everyone can see it. It’s on our website. The Tennessee Journal Assembly website. And it basically bans any institution from conducting these gender mutilation surgeries on minors.

We’re going after puberty blockers and hormone blockers. I’ve got the legislation I’ll be dropping in the next week related to protecting religious and conscientious objectors. I’ve got a parental rights bill because these things are happening in schools as well.

There’s a story just in the last two days out of Indiana where the administration is hiding children who are being coerced into moving to the opposite sex and the opposite gender without their parents being notified. And it’s horrifying. Again, we don’t allow children to vote.

We don’t allow them to get tattoos. We don’t allow them to buy Sudafed until they’re 18. But yet you’re saying a six, a 10-year-old, or a 12-year-old can make the life-altering decision about changing their gender. It’s evil, it’s barbaric, and we’re going to stop it in Tennessee.

Leahy: Well, we should now. Again, can you imagine? I guess we first met way back in 2013. No, it was longer than that. 2010, maybe. I think the Tea Party days. But we first met a long time ago.

Can you imagine when we first met up in Blount County, if I had said to you, Jason, you’re going to be elected to the Tennessee State House of Representatives, and the big issue there is going to be you’re going to have to introduce a bill to stop hospitals from allowing children under the age of 18 to choose to have their genitals taken away or their physical anatomy changed. Would you have imagined that?

Zachary: No. Even in Blount County, where you and I met, which is a very conservative area, where the representative there got 80 plus percent of the Republican vote in this last election, it would be laughable and just not even to go back that far. I’m entering my fifth term.

If you would have told me in my first two terms that we would need to carry a bill to address this, I would say, no, these are isolated, odd incidences because I’d been brought up to speed on a couple that had happened in Tennessee, but they were kept quiet.

It was something people didn’t want to talk about. And now here we are, full-blown. If you don’t concur, if you don’t agree, then you are not someone who’s diverse, or you’re closed-minded. It turns into name-calling.

It’s the same thing we’ve experienced with the LGBTQ movement but just on a completely different level, to the point it’s almost come full circle where you’ve got many in the LGBTQ community who are saying, whoa, we should not be taking these steps with children.

And so it’s unbelievable all the religious, moral decay and decline that we’ve seen in this country. But in a red state like Tennessee, when we recognize something like this, we address it. And that’s something we’re going to do, and we’re going to do it strong out of the gate.

I think your listeners are going to see the legislature come out in a way that, in my five terms, I don’t think we’ve come out as strong and as quick out of the gate as we’re going to come out on this issue. Because, again, this is about children. You can’t have our children. If adults want to make these decisions, you know what?

You want to destroy your body? How unwise, but that’s your decision. You’re not going to do this to our children, and the legislature is going to stand up and stand in the gap and stop it.

Leahy: Well, obviously you have common sense. Obviously the Tennessee General Assembly has common sense. The American Civil Liberties Union, the Tennessee chapter, doesn’t have any common sense because I saw this story and I said, are you kidding me?

So, there is hospital in Memphis called Methodist LeBoehner’s Healthcare. They had schedule “gender reassingment surgeries” and canceled a 19-year-old patient’s procedure because they wanted to see what the state is going to do and what the law is going to be. That makes sense. But these knuckleheads at the ACLU-TN, here’s the quote.

“We demand that Methodist Le Bonheur hopsital promtly rectify its unlawful actions. Failure to do so will result in the ACLU filing a formal complaint and seeking an investigation.” What say you to that threat from those knuckleheads at the ACLU?

Listen to today’s show highlights, including this interview:

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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to The Tennessee Star Reporwith Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.











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