Tennessee recently passed two new acts that work to protect privacy and safety in restrooms in schools and businesses. Both have been signed into law, along with other legislation, earlier this year, that puts the state at the forefront of protecting students, privacy, safety, girls sports and parental rights in education.

LGBT activists and their allies in the media, business and the entertainment world labeled these measures – and Tennessee – “hateful,” “discriminatory” and “harmful.”

The first new law, HB 1182, says that businesses with a policy allowing “a member of either biological sex to use any public restroom within the building or facility shall post notice of the policy at the entrance of each public restroom.” The 8” x 6” notice must say, in boldface, block letters:


In other words, businesses must let women and girls know that biological males who identify as female may be using the women’s restroom – and vice versa.

The bill overwhelmingly passed the House with a vote of 62 to 25 and the Senate with a margin of 20 to 6.

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the largest LGBT activist group in the U.S., called the bill “discriminatory” and said, “Denying transgender people the ability to access a bathroom consistent with their gender identity is degrading and dehumanizing — and can have real health and safety consequences.”

The measure, of course, does not compel businesses to deny bathroom access to anyone. It simply requires establishments to let customers know if they have a policy that could put customers’ privacy and safety at risk by allowing members of the opposite sex into sex-designated restrooms.

The LGBT news outlet them. insisted that the law “aims to single out trans and gender-nonconforming people” and “would punish businesses for letting trans people use affirming bathrooms.”

The second new law, HB 1233, “The Tennessee Accommodations for All Children Act,” gives students, teachers and employees the right to sue their local education authority or public school if they encounter a member of the opposite sex in a changing facility or multi-occupancy restroom in a public school building. Students, teachers and employees may also file suit if they are required to share sleeping quarters with a member of the opposite sex while attending a school-sponsored activity.

The law also provides for students – such as those wrestling with gender confusion – who want greater privacy when using single-sex restrooms, changing facilities, or multi-person sleeping facilities during a school-sponsored activity. Their parents could ask for a “reasonable accommodation,” which might include a single-occupancy facility or an employee restroom – but not facilities designated for the opposite sex.

This legislation also passed with large margins, by votes of 70 to 22 in the House and 23 to 7 in the Senate.

LGBT activists and their allies lobbied hard against both bills, as they disregard physical biology in favor of a person’s subjective “gender identity.” The Advocate, an LGBT news outlet, reported that Elliot Page, formerly known as the actress Ellen Page but now identifying as male, urged her 1.9 million Twitter followers to ask Governor Lee to veto the legislation.

HRC fought the school legislation with strong language from its president, Alphonso David, who said, “By advancing hateful legislation like HB 1233 (SB 1367), Tennessee Gov. Lee and state legislators are using their power to harm and further stigmatize trans youth in Tennessee.”

Earlier this year, the state moved to preserve girls middle school and high school sports for biological females. Another law requires schools to notify parents before their children are instructed about “sexual orientation” or “gender identity.” That legislation also gives parents the right to excuse their children from learning about such sensitive and complicated sexual issues in the classroom.

Activists and their allies have pushed back against the flurry of new laws protecting children and families.

The Tennessean reported in April that more than three dozen “record labels, streaming services, publishing companies and media firms in Nashville” sent an open letter to the legislature asking it to reject all these bills. The businesses included Apple, Big Machine, Curb Records, Sony Music, Spotify and Warner Music. The letter said such legislation “would be disastrous to Tennessee’s social and economic health.”

More recently, more than 217 state and national businesses signed a letter opposing the state’s agenda, including Amazon, Dell, Hyatt, Nissan, Pfizer and Volkswagen. That letter complained, “Policies that signal that the state is not welcoming to everyone put our collective economic success at risk.”

Transgender-identified billionaire Jennifer Pritzker, a retired U.S. Army colonel formerly known as James Pritzker, also battled the legislation. With a reputed net worth of $2 billion, Pritzker warned that the family might move its private family trust out of Nashville if the state passed these bills. Pritzker’s family founded the Hyatt Hotel chain.

Pritzker stated, “As a businesswoman, my larger concern is the impact [these laws] will have on Tennessee’s reputation and, ultimately, economic well-being, as businesses and tourists turn elsewhere. No state benefits from the perception that it is an intolerant and unwelcome place for people of different backgrounds, and it alarms me gravely to see this state vying for the title of least inclusive in the nation.”

Christians, on the other hand, should applaud the state for supporting families and children and for working to safeguard important rights.

Related articles and information:

Public Restrooms – Your Privacy and Safety

Male and Female: Why It Matters in the Culture and Public Policy

Mississippi and Tennessee Advance Bills to Protect Women’s Sports

A Singularly Christian View of the Transgender Problem

What Are Male and Female in God’s Story?

Photo from Max Oden/REUTERS