One of the top issues for the Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition in 2012, as it has been for many years, is to stop the Ban on Teaching Sexual Diversity (a.k.a., Don’t Say Trans/Don’t Say Gay), SB0049/HB0229, by Dr. Joey Hensley (R-Hohenwald) and Bill Dunn (R-Knoxville). The House Education Committee rolled the bill to Tuesday, February 28, at Noon, amidst numerous press reports that the Governor is opposed to the bill.
The Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition has consistently opposed this bill over the years because we believe it is a violation of free speech and is anti-intellectual. In addition, with renewed attention focused on the issue of bullying, which can lead to suicide, silencing teachers and administrators can be potentially dangerous. If passed, this legislation might actually cost lives.
Last year, the Senate amended the bill to limit teachers to discussing only “natural human reproduction science.”
We urge you to contact members of the Education Committee and express your opposition to HB0229:
Richard Montgomery (R-Sevierville), Chair
Joey Hensley (R-Hohenwald), Vice Chair & Bill Sponsor
Joe Carr (R-Lascassas), Secretary
Harry Brooks (R-Knoxville)
Kevin Brooks (R-Cleveland)
John DeBerry (D-Memphis)
Lois DeBerry (D-Memphis)
Bill Dunn (R-Knoxville), Bill Co-Sponsor
Craig Fitzhugh (D-Ripley)
John Forgety (R-Athens)
Ron Lollar (R-Bartlett)
Debra Maggart (R-Hendersonville)
Jimmy Naifeh (D-Covington)
Joe Pitts (D-Clarksville)
Dennis Powers (R-Jacksboro)
John Ragan (R-Oak Ridge)
Ryan Williams (R-Cookeville)
John Mark Windle (D-Livingston)
If you do not know the name of your State Representative, you can Find Your Legislator by clicking here. Feel free to tell your story and educate them about the reality of the lives of their transgender constituents.
If you can join opponents of this bills on Tuesday at Noon, the committee meets in Legislative Plaza, Room 16. Please wear purple.
Anti-GSA Bills in Senate Education Committee
Another anti-GSA bill long fought by TTPC is before the Senate Education Committee on Wednesday, at 8:30 am CST. This bill, HB0432 by Stacey Campfield (R-Knoxville), was amended last year to require every parent to inform the school of those extracurricular activities their child was permitted to join. This language is opposed by school administrators because it would hurt many students who have dead beat parents, and create a new bureaucracy to monitor the added paperwork.
The same committee will also hear SB 2488 by Dolores Gresham (R-Somerville), which requires schools to notify parents, by way of student handbooks or policy guidebooks, of school-associated extracurricular activities.
The members of the Senate Education Committee are:
Dolores Gresham (R-Somerville), Chair & Sponsor of SB2488
Reginald Tate (D-Memphis), Vice-Chair
Brian Kelsey (R-Collierville), Secretary
Andy Berke (D-Chattanooga)
Charlotte Burks (D-Monterey)
Stacey Campfield (R-Knoxville), Sponsor of HB0432
Rusty Crowe (R-Johnson City)
Jim Summerville (R-Dickson)
Jim Tracy (R-Shelbyville)
Please let them know that you oppose HB0432 and SB2488.
If you do not know the name of your State Senator or Representative, you can Find Your Legislator by clicking here.
Stop Civil Rights for Victims of Discrimination
Also on Wednesday, the House State and Local Government Subcommittee will HB 3386 by Glen Casada (R-College Grove). This bill would deny local governments the right to provide additional benefits to workers beyond those authorized by the state. While this targets minimum wages in Memphis higher than those from the state, it would also limit the right of local governments to extend benefits to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees, including basic health benefits to transgender employees and domestic partner benefits to couples.
We strongly oppose this bill and urge you to contact members of the House State and Local Government Subcommittee and express your opposition to HB 3386:
Ryan Haynes (R-Knoxville), Chair
Tommie Brown (D-Chattanooga)
Jim Cobb (R-Spring City)
Gerald McCormick (R-Chattanooga)
Larry Miller (D-Memphis)
Bob Ramsey (R-Maryville)
Curry Todd (R-Collierville)
Mike Turner (D-Old Hickory)
Kent Williams (I-Butler)
The House State and Local Government Subcommittee meets on Wednesday, February 29, at 3:30 pm CST, in Legislative Plaza, Room 30.
Join TTPC and TEP at Advancing Equality Day on the Hill
Each year, members of the Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition join the Tennessee Equality Project and supporters of the equal rights for all LGBT people in the 8th Annual Advancing Equality Day on the Hill. This year, people from across the state will be meeting legislators in their Capitol Hill offices on Tuesday, March 13.
An important reminder: this is the last year that we’ll base our contacts with lawmakers on the old district lines for House and Senate.
On Monday, March 12 at 4 pm, attend Advocacy 101 hosted by TEP Foundation, to learn more about the best practices for policy advocacy with state lawmakers. The presentation will be followed by a legislative briefing from representatives of TTPC and TEP. The location of this event is yet to be confirmed.
Rally for Equality
Immediately following Advocacy 101 at 5:30 pm on March 12, join us outside the Nashville Courthouse near Legislative Plaza in Downtown Nashville for a Rally for Equality. Nashville in Harmony will energize us with songs specifically prepared for this event! We’ll also hear from pro-equality lawmakers and leaders from our community.
Advancing Equality Day Reception at Canvas Lounge
Join us after the rally from 6:30 PM to 9 PM for a reception welcoming advocates from across the state at Canvas Lounge at 1707 Church Street in Nashville.
Breakfast Briefing before your appointments
Join us for a light breakfast at the Rymer Gallery from 8 – 9 am on Tuesday, March 13. You will receive up to date appointment schedules and a report on legislative activity important to LGBT people and their families. Then we will walk a few short blocks to Legislative Plaza for our appointments with lawmakers.
Tennessee Voter Suppression Act
Early voting has now begun for Tennessee’s Presidential Primary, and various local races. For the first time, voters have to produce a photo ID in order to exercise their basic right to vote. For the past few years, the Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition has opposed all efforts to require a new Photo ID because we felt it would disfranchise many voters, especially transgender voters because of the new inclusion of a gender marker.
The most viable option for transgender voters who cannot get a drivers’ license with the appropriate gender marker is to get a United States Passport. Unfortunately, these cost a lot of money, making this a significant Poll Tax for transgender voters who do not wish to be outed, leaving themselves vulnerable to harassment, job discrimination, or physical violence. Furthermore, there may not be time to get a Passport before Election Day on Tuesday, March 6, for all who do not wish to be outed, thus endangering their lives.
The Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition is part of The No Barriers to the Ballot Coalition of Tennessee along with the ACLU of Tennessee, AFL-CIO of Tennessee, Center for Independent Living of Middle TN, Common Cause of Tennessee, Mid-south Peace and Justice Center, NAACP of Tennessee, NAACP Nashville, Nashville Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Nashville Metropolitan Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Inc., Organized Neighbors of Edgehill, Tennessee Citizen Action, Tennessee Mental Health Consumers Association, and Urban EpiCenter. Together, we have launched a petition drive to demand that the legislature repeal this law immediately which strikes at the core of our democracy.
We urge all of you to sign this petition, and to contact your individual state legislators and ask them to repeal this potentially dangerous law.
Early Voting runs through Tuesday, February 28. Election Day is March 6.