Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee has signed a discriminatory bill denying transgender students access to changing facilities consistent with their gender identity.
HB 1233 (SB 1367) has been signed by Gov Lee, according to Tennessee’s General Assembly page.
The discriminatory bill calls for public schools to make “reasonable accommodation” for those unwilling to use changing facilities that do not align with their designated sex.
Republican Gov. Lee’s new legislation strictly applies to those in a public school building or at a school-sponsored activity.
The newly signed bill defines sex as “a person’s immutable biological sex as determined by anatomy and genetics existing at the time of birth.”
The bill states the sex of a student can be determined by government-issued identification such as an original birth certificate.
HB 1233 bill offers trans school children access to “single-occupancy restroom or changing facility” or “use of an employee restroom or changing facility” as an alternative location.
Tennessee’s new law will ostracise trans children and reinforce a culture that believes trans youth do not deserve equal access to basic facilities, healthcare, and support as any other child.
Human Rights Campaign president Alphonso David addressed Gov. Lee’s support for the anti-trans bill.
“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,” David said in a statement.
“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.”
Human Rights Campaign associate Melodía Gutiérrez issued a statement addressing the controversial bill.
“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), Gutiérrez wrote.
“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.”
Thirty-three states have introduced more than 100 bills that aim to curb the rights of transgender people across the country, CNN reports.
Gov. Lee has a track record of enacting anti-trans legislation. The Tennessee Accommodations for All Children Act will be the third bill targeting trans children.
The Tennessee governor has signed SB 228 which promotes an anti-trans sports ban as well as the anti LGBTQ+ education law SB 1229.
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 an 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.
HB 1233 is part of a collective of discriminatory bills being driven through Tennessee’s legislative system. Many of these proposed or passed bills enforce inequalities such as targeting transgender youth and access to bathrooms and preventing trans children from competition in state sports.
Tennessee House recently passed HB 1182 (SB 1224) which allows access to bathroom facilities to depend on biological sex. The bill states it will allow “a member of either biological sex to use any public restroom within the building or facility.”
HB 800 (SB 1216) is an anti-LGBTQ+ education bill that restricts schools from offering lessons or materials that may “promote” awareness around LGBTQ+ issues.
The Senate Bill states: “The state board is prohibited from approving for local adoption or granting a waiver for, and LEAs and public charter schools are prohibited from locally adopting or using in the public schools of this state, textbooks and instructional materials or supplemental instructional materials that promote, normalize, support, or address lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, or transgender (LGBT) issues or lifestyles.”