Tennessee House Subcommittee Advances Anti-Transgender “Gender Inspection” billBy Adam Polaski • March 15, 2016 • 7:09 pm
Today, March 15, Tennessee lawmakers heard discussion on dangerous legislation that targets transgender youth and college students, singling them out for discrimination. The Tennessee House Education Administration & Planning Subcommittee voted to advance House Bill 2414, a “Gender Inspection” bill requiring students to prove that their biological anatomy matches the gender on their birth certificate.
House Bill 2414 would require that students prove their gender as a condition for determining which restroom to use. Disregarding testimony and evidence highlighting the dangerous impact this bill will have on every Tennessee student, the subcommittee advanced the bill to the full committee on a voice vote.
Freedom for All Americans Executive Director Matt McTighe said:
“Every student should be allowed to use the restroom in peace. Sadly, House Bill 2414 specifically targets transgender students from using the restroom that matches the identity they live as everyday. This not only endangers their personal safety, but it further isolates these students from their peers.”
The discriminatory measure defies federal laws, threatening $682.5 million in federal funding for Tennessee’s public schools and universities.
On Friday, Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam, a Republican, announced that he was concerned about the legislation, citing the federal funding that public schools receive, contingent with following Title IX, which has been interpreted by many judges to protect people from discrimination based on sex in schools.
No state in the country has passed a law that so blatantly punishes transgender students — and similar bills have been met with bipartisan opposition and national outcry from Americans who understand that no one should face discrimination because of who they are. Earlier this year, South Dakota’s Republican Governor Dennis Daugaard vetoed an anti-transgender bill HB1008, noting the importance of preserving local control of schools and that the personal stories he received from transgender students caused him to see “things through their eyes.” And a similar bill died in Wisconsin when the Wisconsin Legislature adjourned without taking action, following stiff opposition from transgender students, parents, children’s health advocates and other allies.
Now the bill advances to the the Senate Education Committee, where Tennessee lawmakers should heed the concerns of Governor Haslam by refusing to advance the clearly discriminatory bill.