As various states debate issues relating to trans individuals and particularly children, one voice recently gained significant attention on social media. Kentucky State Rep. Pamela Stevenson, a Democrat representing Louisville, recently gave a rousing speech against a restrictive bill moving through that state’s legislature, and her words have blown up on social media.

Stevenson gave her remarks earlier this month as the Kentucky House debated a bill restricting specific medical treatments toward trans children that generally fall under the umbrella of “gender-affirming care.” Stevenson strongly objected to this bill’s provisions and its impact on trans kids and their families. She embedded her objection in the principle of parental rights, accusing the legislation of “substituting the opinion of legislators for the rights of parents to raise their children.”

Stevenson grounded her objections in her experiences as an ordained minister and U.S. Air Force colonel. “As a 27-year military veteran, I fought so that all people could have freedoms, not just the ones I like. As an ordained minister, we preach, we teach all the time that God’s decisions are perfect,” she proclaimed as she objected to what she deemed a discriminatory bill.

Stevenson questioned the motives of the bill as protecting children, calling out her Republican colleagues for not implementing other interventions that would benefit children in Kentucky.

“You’re not doing anything for the children that are hungry,” Stevenson argued. “You’re not doing anything for the children that are in foster care being abused. You’re not doing what you need to do for the little Black kids that are experiencing racism every day.”

Stevenson also called out the hypocrisy of this bill’s support by legislators who had previously expressed opposition to the government intervening to require people to wear masks. She warned that, should this bill pass, it would “make sure that a whole group of people … have no rights” and that it would set the stage for later rights restrictions.

“If you don’t stand for them,” she said of trans children and their advocates, “I guarantee that they’ll come for you.”

The controversial proposed law, Kentucky House Bill 470, bans health care professionals from providing “gender transition services” to anyone in the state under 18. Those violating the proposed bill could lose their medical licenses and any state funding they receive. Despite the objection of Stevenson and others, including two Republican state legislators, the bill passed the Kentucky House on March 2. However, as the Kentucky Senate debates it, an amendment includes more restrictions, such as a “bathroom ban.”

With various states weighing restrictions concerning trans people, many people will be looking at what happens in Kentucky. Stevenson, meanwhile, is likely to remain a strong force in Kentucky politics. She is currently running to be Kentucky attorney general, and her forceful words have gained her national recognition as her campaign continues.