Demonstrators: We'll keep protesting as long as lawmakers keep pushing the Bathroom Bill
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WZTV) —
LGBT advocates said their rights are under attack by Tennessee lawmakers pushing discriminatory legislation at a rally Monday.
Protesters were taking aim again on Monday at the controversial bathroom bill and several others making their way through the legislature.
Lawmakers said the state's “Bathroom Bill” is designed to clearly define safe boundaries for male and females in bathrooms, but opponents said it’s just one bill aimed at their rights of gay and transgender people in the state.
"I am a trans person so I know something about the discrimination that goes on," said Fredrikka Maxwell with Transgender Political coalition.
Demonstrators said they'll keep protesting as long as lawmakers continue to push the controversial bathroom bill.
"I just firmly believe that boys should be in the boys’ restrooms, girls should be in the girls’ restroom," Rep. Mark Pody (R-Lebanon) said.
Pody's bill requires transgender students to use restrooms matching the sex on their birth certificate regardless of their gender identity.
But opponents are citing the recently released transgender survey to help get their point across.
"Right now we're talking about the bathroom harassment bill that set up and 60% of the people who responded to this said they avoid going to the bathroom at all," Kathy Halbrooks, from the Transgender Political Coalition, said. "For students, that can cause a lot of health problems."
"The bathroom bill is an obvious attack on the LGBT community but SP 127 and House Bill 1111 are written with very vague language, but nonetheless accomplish discrimination," Chris Sanders with the Tennessee Equality Project said.
SB 127 would allow companies and charities that don't recognize LGBTQ rights to keep state contracts. While HB 1111 would impact same sex couples in court by using a "natural" definition in legal documents in marriage, divorce and custody cases where the definition is not clearly defined.
"The human rights aspect are the most compelling but for every citizen we should all be looking at the economic impact. Maybe that's why the bills are worded in more of a sneaky way this year," Sanders said.
Tennessee lost several conferences and tourism dollars after lawmakers passed a bill allowing counselors to refuse treatment based on religious beliefs.
There are concerns that could happen again if some of these bills are passed.