Tenn. GOP lawmakers want Gov. Haslam to sue over federal bathroom directive

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – State lawmakers want to sue the federal government over a directive President Obama sent out last week.

Obama said public schools nationwide must let transgender students use the bathroom of the gender they identify with. If they don’t, federal dollars could be in jeopardy.

Sen. Mark Green from Clarksville wrote a letter to the governor asking him to follow in North Carolina’s footsteps and sue.

He told News 2 by phone the president’s directive is a safety risk to Tennessee’s female students. Click here to read the letter.

Henry Seaton is graduating from his Hendersonville High School this Saturday. Soon, he won’t have to worry about which bathroom to use while at school.

Seaton was born a girl but lives as a man.

Henry Seaton (Photo: WKRN)
Henry Seaton (Photo: WKRN)

“I identify as male. Everything about me is male,” he told News 2. “And I think it’s ridiculous if they made me use the women’s restroom. It would make a lot of people uncomfortable, including me.

But 26 Tennessee lawmakers want Seaton and other transgender students to use the public school bathrooms of their sex at birth.

That’s the law North Carolina recently passed. The so-called bathroom bill was tabled this year in Tennessee but will come up again next legislative season.

It led to an outcry from the LGBT community and other advocates, which is when Obama issued his directive, telling public school systems nationwide that transgender students must be allowed to use the bathroom of the gender identity they identify with.

“It’s just wrong,” said Senator Jim Tracy, who signed the letter because he believes the federal government is overstepping its authority.

Jim Tracy (Photo: WKRN)
Jim Tracy (Photo: WKRN)

Sen. Tracy, of Shelbyville, told News 2 he’s also afraid the directive puts female students at risk.

“It’s about people coming and taking advantage of our females, our girls, and our women,” he explained.

But Seaton says he’s the one who has to use the teachers’ restroom.

“It’s a safety thing,” he noted. “It’s trans people that are victims of sexual assault. That’s where the public safety issue lies.”

Gov. Haslam said last Friday he wants local school boards to decide what bathrooms their transgender students can use.

News 2 reached out Monday night about the proposed lawsuit but didn’t hear back.

Click here to read more about the bathroom bill.

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