NASHVILLE – The American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee is asking Governor Bill Haslam to take a public stand opposing legislation that would prohibit transgender students from accessing restrooms and other facilities that correspond with their gender identity.
In a letter sent to Haslam today, ACLU-TN executive director Hedy Weinberg said that the legislation, if passed, would result in unlawful discrimination against transgender students.
“This legislation calls for one group of students to be treated differently from others. Not only is that unlawful discrimination, it can have a devastating impact on young people who are already under tremendous stress and at greater risk of bullying,” Weinberg said.
“The governor has a real opportunity here to be a leader in ensuring that transgender students are treated with dignity and respect just like everyone else.”
Republican South Dakota governor Dennis Daugaard recently vetoed a similar measure, noting that it “does not address any pressing issue” faced by schools in his state. He changed his position on the bill after meeting with transgender youth and their parents and realizing how such a law would impact them.
Tennessee’s HB 2414/SB 2387 is scheduled to be heard in the House Education Administration and Planning Subcommittee on March 8, 2016.