Tennessee Governor Bill Lee, a
Republican, on Friday signed a bill into law that removes funding
from any school district that violates the state's transgender sports
ban on middle and high school students.
The bill is expected to take effect on
Last year, Tennessee approved a law
that prohibits transgender students from competing on sports teams
consistent with their gender identity.
Republican lawmakers are also
considering bills that would extend the ban to colleges and allow
teachers and school districts to use the pronouns that a transgender
student does not prefer. According to the AP, lawmakers are expected
to approve both measures.
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the
nation's largest LGBTQ rights advocate, criticized Lee for his
support of this bill and other anti-transgender measures.
“Transgender people, and especially
transgender youth, are under attack like never before, and Governor
Lee is among those leading the charge,” HRC State Legislative
Director Cathryn Oakley said in a statement. “Over the past three
years, the Tennessee legislature has considered more than sixty
anti-LGBTQ pieces of legislation, passing seven into law –
including the first two 'bathroom bills' passed since North
Carolina’s infamous HB2.”
“Undeterred by the lawsuits Tennessee
is facing, undeterred by the possibility of federal administrative
enforcement action, undeterred by the harm that this legislation does
to Tennessee children, Bill Lee continues to support and sign bill
after discriminatory bill - making Tennessee among the most
anti-LGBTQ states in the country,” Oakley said.