Today, HRC joined transgender students and their families, the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee, the Tennessee Equality Project, the Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition, Believe Out Loud and the Religious Institute in Tennessee to deliver a petition with 67,000 signatures urging Tennessee lawmakers to veto HB 2414 and SB 2387. The discriminatory legislation would force transgender students to use restrooms and other facilities inconsistent with their gender identity.
“I’m a boy – I live my life as a boy, my friends know me as a boy, my parents accept me as a boy. I shouldn’t have to use the teacher’s bathroom because some politicians feel uncomfortable with who I am,” said Tennessee public high school senior Henry Seaton. “This drastic bill would legalize bullying and stigmatize and humiliate transgender students like me. That’s not what laws should do. Personally, I think our elected officials should spend their time making sure that every student can be safe and feel welcome.”
Last week, HRC announced that executives from over 50 major companies have signed onto a letter addressed to Lieutenant Governor and Speaker of the Senate Ron Ramsey and Speaker Beth Harwell urging state lawmakers to abandon this dangerous piece of legislation.
Additionally, seven major national child welfare, medical, and education groups have condemned this type of discriminatory legislation – including the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Counseling Association, the American School Counselor Association, the Child Welfare League of America, the National Association of School Psychologists, the National Association of Social Workers, and the National Education Association.
“I appreciate that I attend a school that does not treat me like a second class citizen, try to segregate me, or invade my privacy like this bill tries to make schools do,” said Tennessee public high school student Jennifer Guenst. “I have been a public school student for two years and haven’t had any issues using the same restroom as other students – it’s this bill that would create a lot of problems for me and my friends. It means a lot to me to be carrying this message of opposition from thousands of people to lawmakers.”
According to the Williams Institute, there are over 10,000 transgender youth in Tennessee between the ages of 13 and 19
These bills are part of an onslaught of anti-LGBT bills being pushed this year by anti-equality activists around the country.