Tennessee is in the process of passing another anti-LGBTQ bill.
According to the Associated Press, the Tennessee House passed HB 1233, a bill that would deny transgender students access to the bathroom and locker room aligning with their gender identity. The bill enforces this by threatening legal consequences to any school that has a student reporting the belief of a transgender student using these spaces. The bill will now move to the state Senate before possibly heading to Governor Bill Lee’s desk.
Many LGBTQ advocates and LGBTQ rights groups have condemned the bill. Melodía Gutiérrez, the Human Rights Campaign’s Associate Regional Campaign Director, said in a statement:
“Resorting to outdated and baseless anti-equality arguments, the Tennessee legislature continues to relentlessly discriminate against and attempt to undermine the rights of LGBTQ and specifically transgender Tennesseans. Empowering those who wish to discriminate against transgender students and placing an undue burden on schools to accommodate these hurtful requests will lead to nothing but further stigmatization and degrading experiences for trans kids – all of whom deserve to feel comfortable and accepted at school just like every other student. Instead of focusing on addressing the serious challenges that affect the everyday lives of Tennesseans including healthcare, infrastructure, and a pandemic that requires decisive action from its state leaders, the legislature is focused on targeting transgender people and advancing their ‘Slate of Hate.’”
HB 1233 is the latest in a series of anti-transgender and LGBTQ bills sweeping the United States in 2021. In Tennessee alone, the state has passed several “Slate of Hate” bills restricting transgender students from participating in sports and using business bathrooms.
Last week, the state also passed a bill allowing parents to waive LGBTQ-related curriculum for their children, according to the Tennessean. School districts within the state are now required to notify parents of any instructions related to or including sexual orientation and gender equality before the lesson is taught. Parents will then have the right to excuse their children from the curriculum.
“How do you try to make people afraid of a certain population? Well, talk about how scary they are in school or refuse to acknowledge that they exist in school,” said Cathryn Oakley of the Human Rights Campaign. “It hurts everybody when LGBTQ people are excluded from those discussions.”