Tennessee becomes first state to mandate bathroom signs about transgender use

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Governor Bill Lee has signed a bill that requires businesses and government facilities open to the public to post signage if they allow transgender people to use multi-person bathrooms, locker rooms, or changing rooms associated with their gender identity.

Lee signed the bill (House Bill 1182) on Monday, making Tennessee the first state to require public businesses to post signs outside of any facility considered “inclusive”.

In a statement released by LGBTQ advocacy group, the Human Rights Campaign, HRC President Alphonso David called the latest signing harmful to transgender Tennesseans.

“Denying transgender people the ability to access a bathroom consistent with their gender identity is degrading and dehumanizing — and can have real health and safety consequences,” wrote David.

The law will go into effect on July 1.

The signing comes a few days after Lee quietly signed another controversial piece of legislation into law. Last Friday, the governor signed a bill that puts public schools and districts in Tennessee at risk of lawsuits if they allow transgender students or staff to use multi-person locker rooms or restrooms, that don’t align with their sex at birth.

The “bathroom bill” requires schools to try to offer a single-occupancy or employee facility for anyone who wants more privacy, but it specifically bars letting transgender people use multi-person facilities that don’t align with their birth gender.

Back in March, Lee signed a bill banning transgender athletes from middle and high school sports. After the signing, he tweeted the bill will, “preserve women’s athletics and ensure fair competition.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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