I regret that I have had to delay the restroom bill this session. I have heard from many on both sides of this issue, and to those who support the bill I hope you will trust that my need to delay will strengthen our position in the long run.
Please know that just because I am delaying the bill it does NOT mean that anything in our schools changes. Currently biological boys use the boys room and biological girls use the girls room – schools find other solutions for students who do not like that arrangement.
Here is the current status; in actuality, few students across our state ever declare that they want to use the restroom of the opposite sex and of those most change their mind again. As just stated, Tennessee school districts are largely already doing what my bill is seeking to ensure. I struggle with discussing outstanding issues with the bill without at the same time stirring up opponents by exposing the various outstanding issues for which I need the bill to account.
As for misconceptions; the restroom bill only applies to public school restrooms – not to businesses and not to local government facilities; rest assured that the societal norm of restrooms divisioned by biological sex is still the societal norm.
My bill relies on authority derived from Title IX of the education act and the purpose of the bill is to protect the privacy rights of all students. Very simply under the bill, boys use the boys room, girls use the girls room and accommodations can be made for anyone who is unhappy with that arrangement. From what I have learned, the ACLU is only interested in protecting their client; any student who claims to be transgender.
Rule of thumb, when you go to court you pick your case. In our case, we already know that upon passage we will be sued and we have simply run out of time to correct outstanding concerns. So with important details outstanding, are we willing to risk losing and having the will of the ACLU implemented across our entire state? Our schools are already protecting the children as we would want so should we create a law with weaknesses or is it safer to leave things as they are for now?
This bill has scratched the surface of something we did not know was going on - activist doctors who are immorally giving prepubescent children hormones of the opposite sex. This is done because in the words on one witness they horrifically “get a better result” when started when the child is so young.
If we lose a statewide lawsuit in Tennessee, and a court determines that sex is not biological but whatever one may claim, how do we then stop such doctors from harming these small children? How do businesses continue to justify separate restrooms, and how do our local governments justify separate facilities at our community parks?
My bill was championed by a public policy group and I am grateful for their efforts but when I and others realized constraints that needed to be resolved it seems that the group was too invested and had gone too far to allow us more time as if they couldn’t disappoint their members. However, we can’t operate that way when making state law that will affect so many and stands to lose so much. Unfortunately, whether they realize it or not, the group began to paint good legislators as villains to their own constituents when in fact the legislators were very supportive of the bill but they were simply trying to take the time needed to think it through.
There is an old saying that we use in the legislature quite often; sometimes the slower you go the faster you get there.
My goal is to protect the privacy rights of our students – from very small to college age. I can easily pass a bill intended to do so but my concern is to craft the bill well enough to withstand an attack from those who would like nothing more than the opportunity to get their will implemented in our state with one sure and swift strike by the court.