In Tennessee on Friday and Monday, Governor Bill Lee signed two separate anti-transgender rights “bathroom bills” into law, reviving a legislative fight that follows dozens of bills, many of which that have passed, that target the rights, liberty, and health of transgender children and even adults that have cropped up in state legislatures around the country.
Governor Bill Lee signed two bills: one that requires businesses to post signs if they allow transgender customers to use bathrooms and/or dressing rooms that correspond to their gender identity, and one that puts public schools at risk of litigation if they let transgender students or staff at public schools to use multi-person restrooms or locker rooms that correspond to their gender identity.
The two bills — signed on Friday and Monday, respectively — are just another entrant into legislation that has targeted transgender kids and adult’s ability to see doctors, to get health care, to get comprehensive education, and more. Some would require kids thought to be transgender to undergo genital checks to play sports, others ban trans kids from playing team sports that correspond to their gender identity altogether.
The bills in statehouses have also targeted parents and doctors of trans children, threatening to revoke custody of parents who accept their child’s gender identity or rid doctors of their jobs and suspend their medical licenses if they provide medical care that is gender-affirming.
The bills signed by the Tennessee governor — and, similarly, the bills all around the country — are anti-science, harmful to children, harmful to adults, and make children the cannon fodder of a culture war when their identities should be nurtured. Here’s what you need to know about the two bills.
The Public School Bathroom Bill, Explained
The bill, which the governor says promotes “equality in bathrooms” (?) allows any student, parent, or employee to sue schools if the schools allow transgender children to use multi-capacity restrooms or locker rooms that correspond with their gender identity. The person suing could claim monetary damages for “psychological, emotional, and physical harm” suffered if a transgender person walks into a bathroom while others are there, per NBC News. The bill will take effect on July 1.
The Business Bathroom Bill, Explained
On Monday, Governor Lee signed a bill that would require businesses and government facilities that serve customers and the public to post signs informing people if they serve people who are transgender. The signs must say “This facility maintains a policy of allowing the use o restrooms by either biological sex, regardless of the designation of the restroom.” The bill will go into effect on July 1.
If businesses ignore the law, they will face legal action. Whether or not the law — either law — will hold up is another question. ACLU Tennessee, per Time, noted that the business bathroom law, in particular, contains “impermissible compelled speech, in violation of the First Amendment.”
This Isn’t Tennessee’s First Series of Anti-Trans Bills
Earlier this year, Tennessee already banned transgender athletes from being able to compete in girls’ sports on March 26, after Arkansas and Missippi passed similar, anti-science legislation.
The bills passed in Tennessee are just a number of dozens of bills across the country that target children, from sports to healthcare to, again, bathrooms. The only victims are the children and adults the bills target themselves.
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