Lawsuit alleges Tennessee's 'bathroom bill' restricts use by transgender people

Lawsuit alleges Tennessee's 'bathroom bill' restricts use by transgender people
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A federal lawsuit in Tennessee alleges that the state’s "bathroom bill" restricts bathroom use by transgender people.

The lawsuit from the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) filed Monday alleges that the law “bans transgender public school students from accessing restrooms and other facilities consistent with their gender identity.”

According to the complaint, the law violates equal protection by “singling out transgender students for disfavored treatment and explicitly writing discrimination against transgender people into State law.”

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Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee (R) signed the law, called the Tennessee Accommodations for All Children Act, in May. It requires public schools to make “reasonable accommodation” for those who “will not or cannot” use a gender-specific bathroom.

The suit was filed on behalf of two transgender students, 14-year-old Alex and 6-year-old Ariel, HRC said in a statement .

Alex, a transgender boy who is referred to in the complaint as “A.S.,” says that when he was in the seventh grade, he was forced to use either the nurse’s office bathroom, the guidance office bathroom or a locked faculty bathroom.

He alleges that this caused him so much stress to where “he would not drink all day in order to limit the need to use the bathroom.”

Ariel, a transgender girl whom the complaint labels “A.B.,” is getting ready to attend first grade at a public school after attending a private kindergarten.

Ariel was allowed to use the girl’s bathroom at the private school but for the public school, her parents were told that she could use the girl’s bathroom for the first month, after which she may not be able to.

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The plaintiffs are asking the court to enjoin the state from enforcing the ban, arguing that it violates the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.

A spokesperson for Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery told The Hill that the office is reviewing the lawsuit.

This isn’t the first transgender bathroom law that has been under legal scrutiny in Tennessee.

The same court blocked the state from implementing a law requiring businesses and government facilities to post public signs stating if they allow transgender people to use bathrooms that match their gender identity.