NASHVILLE — Pride Month this year comes as equality is under attack in Tennessee and across the country. A record five anti-LGBTQ bills were enacted in Tennessee’s 2021 legislative session as national anti-equality groups pushed copy-and-paste bills targeting LGTBQ people in state legislatures throughout the nation.
The ongoing struggle for equality underscores the importance of standing with the LGBTQ community in their fight for acceptance and respect, according to Sen. Raumesh Akbari (D-Memphis).
“Pride Month is a time celebrate our LGBTQ family, friends and community members and the steps we have made together toward equality. True freedom cannot exist in a nation where some people still experience discrimination and are denied rights under the law,” said Sen. Akbari, chairwoman of the Senate Democratic Caucus. “While we have made progress, the cruel assault against the LGBTQ community waged by Tennessee Republican lawmakers is impossible to ignore. Senate Democrats will not waver in the fight against these harmful, dehumanizing laws and we will continue the important work of advancing equality.”
This year, Republican lawmakers launched a wave of hateful legislation that threatens the health and safety of LGBTQ Tennesseans and serves no purpose other than fueling the GOP’s desperate culture war.
The Associated Press reported that no state legislature went further than Tennessee Republicans with “new laws targeting transgender people.”
On May 14, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee signed HB 1233 into law — denying students and staff in Tennessee public schools the ability to use the bathroom that corresponds to their gender identity. Less than a week later, Gov. Lee signed HB 1182, a business bathroom bill that forces companies that allow transgender people to use the bathroom to post what is effectively a “warning” sign.
Gov. Lee also signed three additional bills targeting the LGBTQ community:
• SB 126, a law that unnecessarily regulates life-saving gender-affirming care for trans youth;
• SB 228, a law that will prevent trans girls from participating in youth sports; and
• SB 1229, a law that restricts public school classroom discussions about LGBTQ people.
Democratic senators fought against these foul attacks and will continue to fight for equality.