Parents of transgender children call Tennessee ‘dangerous’ after governor’s signing of anti-LGBTQ bills

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Governor Bill Lee is still facing backlash days after signing anti-LGBTQ bills including two bathroom bills into law.

“To the members of the legislature in Tennessee, there is no problem that you’re fixing and the majority of people oppose these bills,” Alphonso David, Human Rights Campaign president said.

Family members of transgender children in Tennessee say the state is now a dangerous place for them.

“Don’t be a state of hate, but that is what we are, children like my grandchild will never call Tennessee their home state because it is not a place that loves them,” said the grandmother of a transgender child.

The roundtable discussion lead by the Human Rights Campaign comes days after Governor Lee signed a controversial bathroom bill — requiring businesses and government facilities open to the public to post signage if they allow transgender people to use multi-person bathrooms with their gender identity.

“We have five bills that have been signed by Governor Lee that regulates LGBTQ people to second class status tells young trans people that they can’t play sports, tells young trans people they can’t use the restroom, tells businesses that they should post these offensive signs that warn people about trans people in the restroom,” David said. “What kind of state are we living in?”

Some parents of transgender youth are considering moving out of the state.

“We are extremely worried about her future should we remain in Tennessee these bills have kind of put us in panic mode as I’m sure so many other families who are dealing with this.” Julie Bandy, mother of a transgender daughter in Tennessee said.

Others say targeting children in this fashion could be deadly.

“At a time when indeed depression and suicide are at high rates for all young people, that they’re doubling down on one of the most vulnerable and smallest demographics among us,” said the father of a transgender son.

Lee also recently signed a bill banning doctors from providing gender-confirming hormone treatment to prepubescent minors.

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.”

In April, the Republican governor signed legislation to require school districts to alert parents 30 days in advance before students are taught about sexual orientation or gender identity, including an opt-out option.

The only state to file more anti-LGBTQ proposals this year is Texas.

News 2 reached out to Governor Bill Lee’s office for comment and have not heard back.

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