Tennessee’s latest anti-trans law will expand beyond public schools and into public spaces.
Gov. Bill Lee signed House Bill 1182/Senate Bill 1224 into law on Monday. The bill requires businesses and facilities open to the general public to post signage if they allow trans people to use restrooms aligned with their gender.
The sign must read: “This facility maintains a policy of allowing the use of restrooms by either biological sex, regardless of the designation on the restroom.”
A similar bill directed at public school districts was signed last week. LGBTQ activists and civil rights groups have labeled both as discriminatory.
We're urging @GovBillLee to veto dangerous legislation that would discriminate against transgender people in public schools and businesses.
Trans people must be treated with respect and dignity, just like everyone else.
— ACLU of Tennessee (@aclutn) May 10, 2021
“It is a sexist bill. It is to hurt women who do not fall within the norms of what certain people think women should look like,” says Alaina Cobb, a trans woman and reverend at the social justice nonprofit Sanctuary. “Or men who don’t fall into the forms of what certain people think men should look like.”
Cobb says the law, which comes on the heels of a series of anti-trans bills across the country, including in Arkansas and Mississippi, is built on the notion that people know who is and isn’t trans.
“I know that the point is to make businesses think twice about serving us,” she says. “I hope it doesn’t.”
A spokesperson for the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee says the group is currently evaluating its legal options and will be monitoring the implementation of the law, which goes into effect July 1. It’s also unclear how it will be enforced.