TENNESSEE — Today, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee signed House Bill 1182 (SB 1224) into law, a discriminatory bill that aims to prevent transgender people from using restrooms aligning with their gender identity by requiring businesses with “formal or informal” policies of allowing transgender people to use the appropriate restroom to post offensive and humiliating signage. This bill, along with House Bill 1233, an anti-transgender student bathroom bill that Gov. Lee signed into law last week, are the first bathroom bills to be enacted since North Carolina HB2 in 2016.
HB 1182 (SB 1224) is part of the 2021 “Slate of Hate” rippling through the Tennessee state legislature. This anti-transgender bill is the fourth discriminatory piece of legislation signed by Governor Lee this session, following SB 228 an anti-transgender sports ban, SB 1229, a sweeping anti-LGBTQ education, bill, and HB 1233, anti-transgender student bathroom bill. These anti-equality bills are being pushed by national extremist groups and peddled by lawmakers in Tennessee in an effort to sow fear and division.
The governor has not yet taken action on SB 126 (HB 1027), an unncessary regulation of life-saving, best practice medical care for transgender youth.
Human Rights Campaign President Alphonso David issued the following statement in reaction to Gov. Lee signing HB 1182:
Wide range of businesses and advocacy groups oppose anti-trans legislation
The NCAA opposes efforts to limit participation of transgender students
The NCAA Board of Governors released a public letter making clear that it “firmly and unequivocally supports the opportunity for transgender student-athletes to compete in college sports.” Moreover, “When determining where championships are held, NCAA policy directs that only locations where hosts can commit to providing an environment that is safe, healthy and free of discrimination should be selected.” This puts the 30 states with discriminatory anti-transgender legislation under consideration on notice that their actions will have repercussions for their states.
A fight driven by national anti-LGBTQ groups, not local legislators or public concern
These bills come from the same forces that drove previous anti-equality fights by pushing copycat bills across state houses — dangerous anti-LGBTQ organizations like the Heritage Foundation, Alliance Defending Freedom (designated by Southern Poverty LAw Center as a hate group), and Eagle Forum among others.
Trans equality is popular: Anti-transgender legislation is a low priority, even among Trump voters
A new PBS/NPR/Marist poll states that 67% of Americans, including 66% of Republicans, oppose the anti-transgender sports ban legislation proliferating across 30 states.
In a 10-swing-state poll conducted by the Human Rights Campaign & Hart Research Group last fall:
Another more recent poll conducted by the Human Rights Campaign & Hart Research Group revealed that, with respect to transgender youth participation in sports, the public’s strong inclination is on the side of fairness and equality for transgender student athletes. 73% of voters agree that “sports are important in young people’s lives. Young transgender people should be allowed opportunities to participate in a way that is safe and comfortable for them.”
States that pass anti-transgender legislation suffer economic, legal, reputational harm
Analyses conducted in the aftermath of previous divisive anti-transgender bills across the country, like the bathroom bills introduced in Texas and North Carolina and an anti-transgender sports ban in Idaho, show that there would be or has been devastating fallout.
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