Just days after a discriminatory bill in South Dakota was defeated, Tennessee is now considering a similar bill attacking transgender students.
Last week, all eyes were on South Dakota as the state considered an invasive bill that would have singled out transgender youth and created invasive gender investigations and checks to monitor the exclusion. After extensive media coverage and outcry from children’s advocates, business leaders, and mental health care professionals, South Dakota’s Republican Governor vetoed the dangerous bill, a veto that was sustained with bipartisan support in the South Dakota House of Representatives.
This week, Tennessee legislators are trying to bring that same negative attention to their state.
Tennessee’s HB 2414, which will be heard in the House Education Administration and Planning Subcommittee on Tuesday, March 8th, is much like the defeated South Dakota bill, but is even more extensive – requiring not only K-12 schools but also higher education institutions to exclude transgender students from using the restroom that matches the gender they live as every day.
If enacted, HB 2414 would be the first law in the country mandating that schools target, harass, and discriminate against transgender students. The bill directly contradicts Title IX, is unconstitutionally vague, and is clearly targeted at transgender students. If passed, the bill would lead to a flood of costly litigation and place vulnerable schools with the threat of new liability and loss of the loss of federal funding. Schools should be focused on trying to educate students, not on trying to discriminate.
In the words of South Dakota Governor Daugaard, “this kind of bill broadly regulates in a manner that invites conflict and litigation, diverting energy and resources from the education of the children of the state.” We urge the Volunteer State to live up to its slogan of “America at Its Best” and reject this discriminatory legislation.
Folks in Tennessee can take action by contacting members of the House Education Administration and Planning Subcommittee and telling them to oppose HB 2414, joining Advancing Equality Day on the Hill, or getting in touch with Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition.