NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — A controversial transgender bathroom bill is working its way through the Tennessee General Assembly.
The measure would require businesses to post signs outside any bathrooms considered “inclusive.”
The bill is drawing anger from civil rights activists who say this is yet another attack on a group of people already under scrutiny.
Transgender rights advocates celebrated House Bill 1182 being taken off of the House calendar.
The bill requires a notice to be placed in plain view inside public and private businesses letting people know if a bathroom allows for transgender individuals to use them.
“This bill basically is trying to draw attention to transgender people in a negative way and draw attention in a negative way to businesses that allow transgender people to use the bathroom,” Chris Sanders, the Executive director of the Tennessee Equality Project said.
But the celebration may have come too soon. House bill sponsor Representative Tim Rudd says the bill is still alive.
“It’s coming back,” Rudd said. The bill is being amended.
The Murfreesboro lawmaker says the bill will protect against potential sexual predators.
“If we don’t do something like this, then sexual predators could take advantage of this new law or this new right that would be granted to transgenders, but in no way is this meant to limit transgender access to a restroom it’s simply warning that the opposite sex could be in the restroom,” he said.
Opponents say the bill will allow for another avenue to discriminate against transgender individuals.
“Transgender people already face a great deal of discrimination in our society and the last thing they need is their state government coming after them and adding to that,” Sanders said.
The amended bill will not include single stall bathrooms and requires the signs be posted in plain view on bathroom doors.
Republican Senator Paul Rose is the primary sponsor of a senate version of the bill.
“I would hate to see Tennessee passing any of these anti-trans bills mainly because of the impact on trans people, but it will affect all of us,” Sanders said.
Adding, businesses are taking notice of the anti-trans bills, and that could ultimately hurt the economy.
Rudd says the changes he’s making are pro-business.
“I’ve talked to the business community and matter of fact some changes were made to protect the businesses like the 30-day grace period and not being on the front of the building,” Rudd said.
A bill banning transgender athletes from competing in middle in high school sports is expected to considered as soon as Thursday on the house floor.