Tennessee Transgender Bill Signed Into Law

Aaron Gould Sheinin

May 20, 2021

Bills aimed at restricting transgender teen rights failed in one state last week but passed in another.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee this week signed a bill that prevents schools from allowing transgender teens to use the bathroom that fits with their gender identity. Instead, schools are required to provide a "single-occupancy restroom or changing facility, or use of an employee restroom or changing facility" for any student who "will not or cannot" use a gender-specific bathroom that fits with their gender assigned at birth.

According to CNN, 44 states and Washington, DC, make it illegal to discriminate based on gender for public accommodations.

Still, Lee said in a statement, the law "is a reasonable accommodation, it allows for accommodation for every student regardless of their gender. I think that's a smart approach to the challenge. And I'll be signing that."

Meanwhile, in Alabama, the legislative session ended without a vote on a bill that would outlaw gender-affirming medical treatment for transgender teens. While it passed the state Senate, it did not receive a final vote before the session's end.

"This important victory is the result of trans people and their families mobilizing to defend this life-saving medical care in Alabama and around the country," Chase Strangio, deputy director for trans justice with the ACLU's LGBTQ & HIV Project, told CBS News.

"Children aren't mature enough to make these decisions on surgeries and drugs," the bill's sponsor, Republican Sen. Shay Shelnutt, said earlier during the legislative session, CBS reported. He said he had been unaware such treatments were happening in Alabama when he introduced the bill last year.

According to The Advocate, more than 250 bills it calls "anti-LGBTQ+" have been introduced in state capitols this year and 19 signed into law.


The Advocate: "Tennessee Governor Signs Anti-Trans School 'Bathroom Bill' Into Law."

The Hill: "Tennessee governor signs bathroom bill criticized by advocates for transgender individuals."

CBS News: "Transgender treatment ban fails in Alabama Legislature."


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