Tennessee Attorney General: Anti-Transgender Bill Threatens Federal Funding

By Adam Polaski • April 11, 2016 • 4:07 pm

Today, Tennessee’s Republican Attorney General Herbert Slatery published an opinion explaining that HB2414 – an invasive bill that restricts transgender children and students from using the restroom of the gender they live as each day – would certainly threaten Tennessee’s federal funding from the U.S. Department of Education. That’s because the anti-transgender legislation contradicts the federal Title IX.


AG Slatery’s opinion doesn’t mince words. “Does House Bill 2414 pose a risk of violation of Title IX of the Education amendments of 1972?” he asks, and quickly answers, “Yes.” He continues:

“If a transgender student is required by a school district in Tennessee to use a restroom or locker room facility that is consistent with his or her anatomical gender rather than his or her gender expression or gender identity, and if that student files a complaint, DOE, applying its current interpretation of Title IX, will almost certainly require the school district to permit the student access to the facility consistent with his or her gender expression, and refusal to do so could very well result in loss of federal funding — at least until DOE’s interpretation is overruled by authoritative and binding judicial decision.”

The opinion was the result of a study requested by Tennessee Reps. Mike Stewart, D-Nashville, and Harry Brooks, R-Knoxville, the chairman of the House Education Administration and Planning Committee. Last week, the House Education Administration and Planning Committee voted to advance HB2414.

The opinion is in line with a report from the Tennessee Dept. of Education, which explained that the measure threatens $1 billion in federal funding.  Schools across the state could also divert millions of dollars from the classroom to fund expensive lawsuits and administrative challenges.

Republican Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam’s office previously expressed concern over the state losing federal funding because of these gender inspection bills.

The truth has been proven over and over again: Anti-transgender bills like Tennessee’s HB2414 are not only harmful to transgender children – but they’re also crippling for public schools and the state overall, as they violate federal law. Leaders in Tennessee and beyond must stand up and reject these clear instances of anti-LGBT discrimination, and they should do so immediately.

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