Tennessee House Education Administration & Planning Subcommittee must abandon a bill targeting the dignity and rights of transgender students in public elementary, middle, and high schools, as well as public universities. Even more restrictive than the appalling legislation vetoed by Republican Governor of South Dakota Dennis Daugaard just last night, Tennessee’s HB 2414 is scheduled for a hearing on Tuesday and seeks to prevent transgender students from accessing restrooms and locker rooms consistent with their gender identity.
“It is difficult to imagine a more targeted attack against transgender and gender non-conforming students,” said Tennessee Equality Project Executive Director Chris Sanders. “Now is the time for allies to speak out against this bill.”
HB 2414 would put Tennessee school districts at risk of losing federal funds under Title IX, forcing them to choose between state and federal law. It would also tie the hands of school administrators and teachers who would no longer have the flexibility they need to find workable solutions in coordination with transgender students and their parents. In April of 2014, the U.S. Department of Education issued guidance informing public schools that Title IX protects students against discrimination based on gender identity. The U.S. Department of Justice has unequivocally stated that, “Discrimination based on a person’s gender identity, a person’s transgender status, or a person’s nonconformity to sex stereotypes constitutes discrimination based on sex. As such, prohibiting a student from accessing the restrooms that match his [or her] gender identity is prohibited sex discrimination under Title IX.”
We must not allow these kinds of bills to pass. This is a human rights issue, and not just a transgender issue.