A bill that would require transgender students to only use the bathroom that matches their birth sex was passed this Tuesday by the Education and Administration and Planning Subcommittee.
Although it passed unanimously by the Tennessee legislature, the state’s republican governor, Bill Haslam is in opposition of the bill. As are the transgender students.
“I’m a little concerned that it passed unanimously,” said Henry Seaton, transgendered senior at Hendersonville’s Beech High School.
Haslam believes that this issue should be left to individual school districts. “I actually trust our teachers and local school boards to figure out how to make those accommodations in those situations.” However, right now students like Seaton, are being asked to use completely separate bathrooms altogether. In Seaton’s case, this one bathroom is a teacher’s one that is often locked. This demonstrates that leaving this judgement call in the individual district’s hands is not proving to be effective
But, conservative supporters, including Rep. Susan Lynn, R- Mount Juliet, and Sen. Mike Bell, R-Riceville of the bill argue that it protects all students and their privacy. Not to mention, it clearly defines how to handle this situation for every district; keeping it consistent state-wide. This includes students at both grade schools and universities.
Last month, a similar bill had major support in South Dakota when it was passed requiring transgender students to visit on the bathrooms of their birth certificate sex. In Kansas, bills were introduced this week by the House and Senate that also require transgender students to use restrooms corresponding to their sex at birth at public schools. I think any child or young adult has a right to have their privacy protected when they’re in various stages of undress,” said Sen. Mary Pilcher-Cook to the Kansas City Star. She points out that youths commonly feel uncomfortable when undressing and “someone of the opposite gender just walks in. This protects them from that situation.”