Proposed student bathroom bill
CHATTANOOGA, Tennessee (WDEF)- Tennessee lawmakers pass a new transgender student ‘bathroom bill’
Tennessee lawmakers have passed a bill that would put public schools at risk of civil lawsuits if they let transgender students or employees use multi-person bathrooms or locker rooms that don’t reflect their gender at birth.
Cathryn Oakley with Human Rights Campaign said she feels this will hurt students’ education because there will be times students won’t be able to use the bathroom they have been assigned.
“Hearing from trans youth talking about trying to get through their entire day without using the bathroom at school, it is torture. It is absolutely a violation of their right to be able to get an education,” said Oakley.
She feels like this is a step back to 2016, when these bills also failed.
“These bills also coincide with a case that came out of Virginia with a trans boy who was not allowed to use the restroom which was consistent with his Trans identity. So he wasn’t allowed to use the boy’s bathroom at school. He won in federal court in his case that argued it was both a Title IX violation and an equal protection violation,” said Oakley.
The state Senate voted 21-7 in favor of the legislation, which needs at least one more vote before heading to Tennessee Governor Bill Lee.
“I hope that something Governor Lee takes heed of. We’ve had three vetoes of anti-transgender legislation in just the last 24 hours,” said Oakley.
The bill’s sponsor is Republican Senator Mike Bell said in a previous statement a middle school in his district has run into an issue over bathroom use.
In a press conference Thursday, multiple Democrats spoke out against the new bathroom bill.
“It’s not making it better for Tennessee, it’s actually making it worse. When you have bills that attacked transgender children,” said TN Senator-(D) Raumesh Akbari.
“Almost a new low to see the string of bills we’ve seen this week,” said Tennessee Senator (D) Jeff Yarbro.
News 12 reached out to multiple Republican senators for comment including the bill’s sponsor Senator Mike Bell, but did not hear back for comment.