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Anti-trans bathroom bill signed into law in Tennessee

Campaigners have vowed to fight the "discriminatory" legislation.

2021-05-18

Words by Alastair James; pictures: wiki

A discriminatory bill has been signed into law in the US state of Tennessee that would prevent transgender students and employees from using bathrooms and lockers corresponding to their gender identity.

Schools would have to provide “reasonable accommodation”, such as a single-occupancy or staff facility for transgender people instead.

The bill (HB 1233 (SB 1367)) also means schools could face legal action if someone believes they have used a designated single-sex space, such as a bathroom, with someone who is transgender.

“Tennessee is quickly becoming a national leader for anti-LGBTQ legislation”

The three-page bill says people could sue and “may recover monetary damages for all psychological, emotional, and physical harm suffered” if they encounter someone deemed to be of the 'opposite sex' in a designated single-sex bathroom or changing room.

The advocacy group, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), says the bill is one of many anti-trans bills currently making its way through the state’s legislature.

In a statement its website, the President of the HRC, Alphonso David, says:

“By advancing hateful legislation like HB 1233 (SB 1367), 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…”

"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.”

It’s due to come into effect on the 1 July 2021.

ABC News reports the Republican Governor of Tennessee, Bill Lee, who signed the bill into law, has defended it, saying it “promotes equality in bathrooms”.

It follows a state-ban on trans-youth taking part in sports as well as an anti-LGBTQ education bill. A number of Republican led states are advancing similar discriminatory bills.

ABC News also reports the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee expects the law to challenged.