VICTORY: Anti-Transgender “Gender Inspection Bill” Defeated in Tennessee

By Megan Clayton • March 22, 2016 • 1:14 pm

Big news out of Tennessee today, where lawmakers rejected HB 2414, a dangerous “Gender Inspection” bill specifically targeting transgender students.

At a hearing this morning in the House Education Administration & Planning Committee, members of the committee voted unanimously to send HB 2414 to “summer study”—meaning it will not become law during this legislative session. The vote to not advance the bill came after numerous members of the committee had met face-to-face with transgender students from across the state, hearing their personal stories of why this legislation would put them at real risk.FFAA_TN Victory_TW

If passed, this invasive “Gender Check Bill” would have required that students prove that their anatomy matches that of their birth certificate as a condition of using the restroom. As with similar measures seen around the country, HB 2414 did not describe how school officials are to determine if a student’s gender matches the sex on their original birth certificate. This means under this bill, schools could be required to collect DNA or perform physical examinations before a student is allowed to use the restroom.

HB 2414 would also have meant real economic consequences for Tennessee. Just last week, Republican Governor Bill Haslam voiced concerns that the “Gender Check” bill could jeopardize $682K in federal education funding and force school districts to undergo costly litigation on their own dime.

Today’s bipartisan victory in Tennessee marks the latest in a wave of defeats of anti-transgender legislation across the country, including Virginia, Wisconsin and most notably South Dakota, where Republican Governor Dennis Daugaard vetoed a nearly identical bill after hearing from businesses, faith leaders and transgender students who would have been personally impacted.

Our Executive Director Matt McTighe praised lawmakers for their decision to not advance this divisive legislation:

“Today’s decision by Tennessee lawmakers is a victory for the dignity and equal treatment of all children in the state. House Bill 2414 would have endangered the personal safety of all children, particularly transgender youth; and codified discrimination in public schools. No child should fear being singled out or humiliated when they are trying to get an education. Tennessee did the right thing in defeating this harmful legislation, and other states should follow its lead.”

Congratulations—and thank you—to the local advocates and transgender people who bravely stood up against this bill, shared their stories and made the case that this kind of egregious discrimination has no place in Tennessee.

As other legislatures across the country consider legislation targeting transgender people, lawmakers should follow the examples of Tennessee, South Dakota and Wisconsin by rejecting legislation that serves no other purpose than to demean and discriminate against transgender students.


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