Governor Lee signs transgender ‘bathroom bill’ for Tennessee schools


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Governor Bill Lee has 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. 

Lee quietly signed the controversial piece of legislation into law last Friday. It 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 sex at birth.

“I think it matters what the citizens [think], and at the end of the day, the people of Tennessee through their elected officials decide what the law is,” Gov. Lee said last week in an interview with WKRN’s Gerald Harris.

The bill’s signing cemented another policy into law that LGBTQ advocates say discriminates against their community.

“Tennessee is a wonderful state to do business in, but businesses don’t like discrimination,” said Joe Woolley, CEO of the Nashville LGBT Chamber, in an April interview with WKRN.

The governor said the bill promotes “equality in bathrooms.”

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.”

Student-athletes in middle and high school will now be required to prove their sex at birth in order to play school sports.

The governor is still considering another bathroom bill that would require businesses to post signage outside of any bathroom considered “inclusive.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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