The Tennessee House on Tuesday approved
a bill that encourages school districts to prohibit transgender
students from using the bathrooms and locker rooms of their choice.
House Bill 1274 also requires that the
state attorney general defend school districts that adopt such
policies in court.
The Senate is expected to take up a
companion bill on Wednesday.
LGBT activists said that the
legislation would harm students and the state's economy.
“House passage of HB 1274 puts
Tennessee on a dangerous path that threatens the basic dignity of
transgender students and the hospitality that has been a foundation
of our state’s economic growth,” Chris Sanders, executive
director of the Tennessee Equality Project, said in a statement.
“There is still time for our state’s leaders to choose a wiser,
welcoming approach and we call on them to do so.”
“Tennessee lawmakers are playing
politics with LGBTQ people’s lives by voting in favor of
discrimination,” said Masen Davis, CEO of Freedom for All
Americans. “It is shameful to watch elected leaders ignore the
human impact and economic consequences of discrimination. Like all
Americans, the vast majority of Tennesseans want to see their LGBTQ
neighbors treated with dignity and respect. We urge the Senate to
reject legislation that targets transgender young people.”
The legislation is part of a trio of
anti-LGBT bills that have gained nationwide attention. One bill that
sought to allow child placement agencies to deny same-sex couples is
now thought to be dead, while another bill that worried transgender
rights activists has been watered down.
Titans opposes state's anti-LGBT bills.)