Story at a glance

  • Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee signed a law requiring establishments to post signs saying they allow trans people to use their bathrooms.
  • The bill has been criticized by the LGBTQ community and allies as discriminatory and transphobic.
  • Nashville District Attorney General Glenn Funk said he would not enforce the law, which he called “contrary” to his values.

Officials in the capital of Tennessee are refusing to enforce a law passed by state legislators that requires establishments to post signs saying they allow transgender people to use their bathrooms.

"I believe every person is welcome and valued in Nashville. Enforcement of transphobic or homophobic laws is contrary to those values. My office will not promote hate," said Nashville District Attorney General Glenn Funk in a statement. 


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The law, passed earlier this month, includes an amendment that says “if an entity or business is notified that it is not in compliance with the bill, the entity or business will have 30 days in which to comply before any action is taken against the entity or business.” It’s not clear what action would be taken, although the bill's sponsor, Rep. Tim Rudd, told the Chattanooga Times Free Press the law carried criminal penalties. 

LGBTQ advocacy groups lauded the district attorney’s announcement, which echoed opposition by other local leaders, including Nashville Mayor John Cooper. The bill is one of dozens of transphobic laws proposed in state legislatures across the country, leading to a rapid decline in the mental health of transgender and gender nonconforming youth, who are already at high risk of suicide. 


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“This law is part of an anti-LGBT political platform of hate and division. One of the risks for Nashville is that the hostility inherent to these signs can be the equivalent of hanging up another sign — a ‘do not come here’ sign," Cooper said in a statement to the Tennessean. "We are an inclusive city, and that won’t change. But, unfortunately, we will be made vulnerable economically by this unwelcoming legislation."  

Ahead of Pride Month, corporate campaigns and outreach to the LGBTQ community has included opposition to anti-trans laws passed in several states. The NCAA said last month that championships may not be held in states that are not “free of discrimination” toward transgender athletes, threatening the business that comes along with these events. 


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MISSISSIPPI BANS TRANSGENDER ATHLETES FROM COMPETING ON GIRLS’ OR WOMEN’S SPORTS TEAMS

SPORTS SAVED MY LIFE. TRANSGENDER ATHLETES SHOULD BE ABLE TO HAVE THAT EXPERIENCE TOO


 

Published on May 25, 2021