Legislation Targeting Trans Students Defeated In Tennessee House

Good news out of Tennessee where anti-transgender legislation HB2414, the so-called “Gender Inspection” bill, was sent to legislative purgatory

From Freedom For All Americans:

At a hearing this morning in the House Education Administration & Planning Committee, members of the committee voted unanimously to send HB 2414 to “summer study”—meaning it will not become law during this legislative session. The vote to not advance the bill came after numerous members of the committee had met face-to-face with transgender students from across the state, hearing their personal stories of why this legislation would put them at real risk.

If passed, this invasive “Gender Check Bill” would have required that students prove that their anatomy matches that of their birth certificate as a condition of using the restroom. As with similar measures seen around the country, HB 2414 did not describe how school officials are to determine if a student’s gender matches the sex on their original birth certificate. This means under this bill, schools could be required to collect DNA or perform physical examinations before a student is allowed to use the restroom.

HB 2414 would have meant real economic consequences for Tennessee, too. Just last week, Republican Governor Bill Haslam voiced concerns that the “Gender Check” bill could jeopardize hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal education funding and force school districts to undergo costly litigation on their own dime.

Today’s bipartisan victory in Tennessee marks the latest in a wave of defeats of anti-transgender legislation across the country, including Virginia, Wisconsin and most notably South Dakota, where Republican Governor Dennis Daugaard vetoed a nearly identical bill after hearing from businesses, faith leaders and transgender students who would have been personally impacted.

Anti-transgender bills have popped up across the nation as trans people are becoming the new target for anti-LGBT forces.

Last week, South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard vetoed similar legislation after meeting with transgender students who would have felt the full force of the bill.

South Dakota Governor Vetoes Anti-Transgender “Bathroom Bill”

South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard

Governor Dennis Daugaard of South Dakota has vetoed House Bill 1008, which would have made South Dakota the first state to ban transgender students from using school restrooms that correspond with their gender identity.

“Thank you Governor Daugaard for meeting with transgender people to see through their eyes that they are our friends, family, and neighbors, worthy of the same fair treatment and dignity as everyone else,” said Rebecca Isaacs, Executive Director of Equality Federation. “The more people get to know about the real lives of transgender people, the more empathy prevails. All students, including transgender students, should be able to fully participate and have a fair opportunity to thrive in school.”

The state legislature could vote to overturn Daugaard’s veto. But, at least for now, the votes are lacking in the state Senate which voted in favor of the bill 20-15, which falls short of the necessary two-thirds threshold.

Congrats South Dakota! And thank you, Gov. Daugaard.

UPDATE: It looks like the bill’s sponsor doesn’t want to do a veto fight. From Rep. Fred Deutsch’s response:

“HB 1008 was intended to be a practical solution to our evolving social values on gender issues. Unfortunately emotions on both sides of this issue have dominated the news coverage and the recent debate. I still believe an objective reading of the proposed law is consistent with my intent to be non-discriminatory and fair to all students and parents.

However, because I think the national focus on South Dakota should be on our positive business environment, strong labor market and the excellent work our schools do, I am going to ask my legislative colleagues to concur with the Governor’s veto. Further focus on this issue will detract from the other significant accomplishments of the legislature this session.”