KINGSPORT – Within a week of proposing what’s become known as the “bathroom bill”, Tennessee State Representative for District 2 Bud Hulsey told News Channel 11, he’s received a lot of feedback.
“It says that a school system is only required to provide a male and female bathroom facility and male and female locker room facility. And that a student will use the facility based on the gender noted on their birth certificate,” said Hulsey.
But many transgender rights groups in Tennessee say the bill addresses a problem that does not exist.
“You use the restroom everyday with transgender individuals you have no idea because everyone just wants to go to the bathroom if they have to go to the bathroom,” said PFLAG Tri-Cities Media Relations Representative Beth Sluder.
Sluder said Hulsey’s proposed legislation is unrealistic.
“If representative Hulsey is suggesting that we check for either genitalia or a birth certificate at the door of bathrooms, that puts people in danger. Not to mention the fact that its extraordinarily impractical,” said Sluder.
According to Hulsey, a case involving a transgender student at an Illinois school inspired him to draft the legislation.
Hulsey said that student was offered a separate restroom facility, but felt he would be ostracized if he used it.
While this case provided insight, Hulsey said he admits there’s still a lot he needs to learn about the issue.
“I’m going to have to revisit the wording and I’m going to have to revisit some other things too, it has opened a whole lot of dialogue which I’m grateful for,” said Hulsey.
Sluder told News Channel 11, if the legislation passed, federal law would outweigh the state law.
“There’s already federal precedent for this, it won’t stand,” said Sluder.
Hulsey said the bill would not apply to students who have undergone reassignment surgery. He said he is still looking for a Senator to sponsor the bill.
News Channel 11 asked Kingsport City Schools Chief Administrative Officer Andy True about the school systems response to the proposed legislation. True said at this time the school district is monitoring the progression of the bill.
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