Tennessee: Gov. Lee Signs Anti-Trans Student Bathroom Bill

transgender-rightsTennessee Gov. Bill Lee has signed HB 1233 (SB 1367) into law, a discriminatory bill that will deny transgender students access to the bathroom and locker rooms consistent with their gender identity. The bill further discriminates against transgender students, and opens up schools to legal consequences, if a student believes they have shared a sex-segregated space – bathrooms, locker rooms, or other changing facility – with a transgender student. This bill is squarely in defiance of federal law, and flagrantly discriminatory.

HB 1233 (SB 1367) is part of the 2021 ‘Slate of Hate’ bills rippling through the Tennessee state legislature, along with the anti-transgender sports and business bathroom bills. These anti-equality pieces of legislation are being pushed by national extremist groups, and peddled by lawmakers in Tennessee, in an effort to sow fear and division.

This anti-transgender bill is the third discriminatory piece of legislation signed by to Governor Lee this session, following SB 228 an anti-transgender sports ban, and SB 1229, a sweeping anti-LGBTQ education bill.

The governor is also poised to act on HB 1182 (SB 1224), known as the ‘business bathroom bill’, that would require businesses that don’t actively prevent transgender people from using the restroom consistent with their gender identity to post an offensive and outrageous sign, warning that transgender people might be inside. HB 1027 (SB 126), an unnecessary regulation of life-saving, best practice medical care for transgender youth, is also waiting for the Governor’s action.

Human Rights Campaign President Alphonso David released the following statement in response to Gov. Lee signing HB 1233 (SB 1367) into law:

By advancing hateful legislation like HB 1233 (SB 1367), Tennessee Gov. Lee and state legislators are using their power to harm and further stigmatize trans youth in Tennessee. The state of Tennessee is quickly becoming a national leader for anti-LGBTQ legislation, as lawmakers would rather discriminate against LGBTQ youth than focus on real problems facing Tennesseans. I want to be clear: Gov. Lee’s shameful decision to sign this baseless and discriminatory bill into law will harm the health and well-being of trans students in Tennessee by creating daily degrading experiences for them at school. These ‘Slate of Hate’ bills are unjustifiable and must stop.

Alphonso David, Human Rights Campaign President

Human Rights Campaign Associate Regional Campaign Director Melodía Gutiérrez released the following statement in response to Gov. Lee signing HB 1233 (SB 1367) into law:

Transgender children are children. They deserve to feel safe and accepted at school, just like all children. But Gov. Lee and the Tennessee state legislature have chosen once again to sign an inherently discriminatory and harmful bill in HB 1233 (SB 1367). Why are Tennessee’s elected leaders so focused on discriminating against transgender students instead of addressing real issues facing Tennesseans? They have no regard for the damaging impact these bills have on the mental health of transgender students — who have been begging state leaders to leave them alone.

Melodía Gutiérrez, Human Rights Campaign Associate Regional Campaign Director

By Wyatt Ronan

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