Human Rights Campaign Condemns Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee for Enacting Needless Law to Perpetuate Discrimination Against Transgender Students
Today, The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) — the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization — condemned Governor Bill Lee’s signature of legislation, H.B. 1895 / S.B. 1861, that would remove funding from any school district that allows transgender students to play school sports consistent with their gender identity. This is a gratuitous effort to double down on discrimination against transgender students. It is discriminatory, unfair, and unnecessary – not to mention contrary to the requirements of federal civil rights law and the United States Constitution.
This bill is a continuation of Tennessee’s “leadership” in legislative attacks on LGBTQ+ people over the last several years, and comes as data from the Trevor Project shows that 42% of LGBTQ+ youth nationwide seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year, including more than half of transgender and nonbinary youth. The nation’s leading child health and welfare groupsrepresenting more than 7 million youth-serving professionals and more than 1,000 child welfare organizations released an open letter calling for lawmakers in states across the country to oppose dozens of bills that target LGBTQ+ people, and transgender youth in particular.
In the last three years, anti-LGBTQ groups and politicians have singled out transgender kids to deny them access to gender-affirming medical treatment, prevent them from participating in sports teams consistent with their gender identity, and deny access to bathrooms. 2020 set a record number for anti-transgender bills filed with 79 bills, largely focused on attacking transgender youth; 2021 surpassed that record with 147 such bills filed in 34 states. 2022 is on track to surpass that record yet again. For transgender youth – who are simply trying to navigate their adolescence – to bear the weight of these attacks year after year, this legislation takes a toll. Politicians are culpable for the harmsthey inflict by continuing to consider bills that target transgender youth.
Already, more than 200 major U.S. corporations have joined together to oppose anti-transgender legislation being proposed in states across the country, including companies like Amazon, Apple, AT&T, AirBnB, Dow, Google, IBM, Lyft, Marriott, Microsoft, Nike, and PayPal. Four of the largest U.S. food companiesalso condemned “dangerous, discriminatory legislation that serves as an attack on LGBTQ+ individuals, particularly transgender and non-binary people,” and the Walton Family Foundation issued a statement expressing “alarm” at the trend of anti-transgender legislation that recently became law in Arkansas.