Tennessee House passes “Business Bathroom Bill” in effort to shame trans-friendly businesses

Tenaini, Bathroom
An all-gender toilet sign – Photo: Ted Eaton via Wikimedia.

Tennessee lawmakers have passed a bill that forces transgender people to toilet with their gender identities by forcing establishments to post their toilet policies in an effort to shame trans-friendly businesses Prohibit using.

Last month, Tennessee House approved Hb 1182, A bill requiring businesses with multi-user restrooms, whether unisex or open to use by people based on their gender identity, to post 8-inch by 6-inch signs outside each toilet reading For: “This feature maintains a policy of allowing either the use of the toilet by biological sex, regardless of the designation on the toilet. “

A similar bill, SB 1224, is expected to be taken up in the state Senate next week with a hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill is expected to pass and eventually be approved by the Senate, overwhelmingly endorsing the measure it received from the Republican-lean and House Republicans.

It is not clear whether the government will sign the measure in the Bill Lee (R) law or not, but it has already signed a bill. Ban on transgender athletes from competing in sports Based on their gender identity. Additionally, Republicans are so dominant in the legislature that even if Lee has to veto the bill, lawmakers can block his veto, such as Republicans did in Arkansas After their Republican governor, Asa Hutchinson, vetoed a bill banning trans youth from medical treatment confirming gender change.

The bill is part of a package of bills that LGBTQ advocates have “dubbed”.Slate of hate“Because they target members of the LGBTQ community for discrimination. In the case of the bathroom signage bill, legalists are not only driving out transgender people, but are trying to socially destabilize business owners who Transgenders are not actively engaged in discriminating with customers.

Regional campaign director Melodia Gutierrez, an associate of the Human Rights Campaign, called on House MPs after the initial passage of the bill, saying it continues to be “persistent attacks” by lawmakers against members of the transgender community.

“Denying transgender people the ability to play sports or enter the bathroom is a sinister, abusive and systematic attempt at their gender identity,” Gutierrez said in a statement. “Transgender children face increased levels of anxiety, depression, and dysphoria, especially when they are not given the opportunity to live with their identity. The people of Tennessee are facing serious challenges that will affect their Affects everyday life, from healthcare to infrastructure, an epidemic that requires decisive action from its state leaders. Instead, the legislature targets transgender people and advances their ‘slate of hat’ Focuses on.

See it all: Tennessee bill will allow students to sue sharing toilet and locker room with transgender peers

Nashville LGBT Chamber of Commerce CEO Joe Vooley, who opposed the bathroom signage bill, said many businesses objected to the measure because they were required to pay out of each toilet and put out money to install signs. And Outside the main gate of the establishment. Then, a group of pro-business organizations that are not concerned with being LGBTQ-friendly, including the National Federation of Independent Businesses and the Federation of Retailers, have called for lawmakers to remove some of the bill’s enforcement mechanisms and eliminate the requirement on the sign Lobbied. front entrance.

“If a business has inclusive bathroom policies and they don’t put up these signs as the law should say there is no penalty for them,” Wooley said. “Nothing happens.” So literally, Bill is the only thing that discriminates in a green book to sit on a shelf. … it’s just discrimination on the page.

“Now, we continue to warn businesses and our members that lawmakers can easily come back to the issue next year and refund the fine, so they should oppose the bill and try to kill it now ,” They said. “But we say that there are penalties and most businesses are compliant,” he said. What it does is it paints a goal on an inclusive business front. It hits a right at their front door. “

Redhead Stranger Restaurant in Nashville – Photo: Instagram.

Wooley also raised the possibility that anti-equality advocates may or may threaten activities of violence against businesses with trans-friendly policies. But it is more likely that some customers resentful of trans-friendly toilet policies will stop doing business or some businesses will want to do it again and again.

“What the sponsors of the bill wanted to do was discriminate against trans people. And if they can make a business involve trans people, by paying them for a sign, all the better, “Voole said.” “And this is what it comes down to, whether legislators are trying to discriminate against transgender individuals, and if they can punish businesses that support them, then they target those businesses and hurt them Let’s try to deliver. “

Bill’s house sponsor, Rep. Tim Rudd (R-Murfreesboro) Local CBS affiliate told WREG People especially need legislation to protect women and children from sexual predators, who can enter the bathroom aimlessly, and the only way to ensure that transgender people at birth is Need to use the bathroom matching your assigned gender. . Otherwise, he claims, hunters will claim to be transgender to take advantage of trans-friendly policies.

See it all: Young Americans protest ban on bathroom use for transgender people

But Michael Shemtov, the proprietor of Nashville-based restaurants Butcher & B and Redhead Stranger, says he believes the issue of using the toilet is “concocted”. After reading the language on the sign, Shemtov stated that he felt that the reference to the sign of “biological sex” was misleading.

“I’ve been talking a lot Owner of lots of restaurants. I have never, once, anywhere in 20 years been in the restaurant business, not to mention it. “Again, this is not a problem that we have ever heard from a customer or staff member or a colleague.”

Shemtov says he does not want to anger or resent customers by venturing deeper into the wars of culture – after all, some proportion of his customers, who hail largely from the Nashville and Middle Tennessee area, by any supporter LGBTQ policies will get annoyed – but they believe most of their customers will stand by the business, even if they are forced to post signs.

“Generally, I don’t think we should fight a culture war in politics, and certainly not in restaurants, but if pushed to stand by our opinions, our values, I would have less business and know That we support what we believe. To be more hospitable to homophobic or transphobic people, to compromise our values, “he says.” W.If you are ready to close that business, if it falls under it. But we are also not looking to inflame customers unnecessarily. “

Butcher and Bee in Nashville – Photo: Facebook.

He says that he sees the Bill as unduly distracted by more important issues.

“I think it’s a shame with an epidemic and an economic crisis and all the injustices that are laid bare, that’s where we’re focused,” Shemtov says. “It reminds me a little of what happens in the Middle East, where I am from.

“When a country’s economy is really problematic and there is social unrest and problems with civil society, they bomb Israel, verbally or literally, to focus on everyone. To focus on everyone. So what if there is not enough food to eat, and there is corruption at all levels of government? There are Israelis and they are bad men. They are bad, “he says.” It’s just Is inciting people’s passions about cultural issues related to religion, as a means to distract from the poor job we are actually dealing with, a public health emergency and an economic emergency. “

Wendy McCown, the transgender owner of Club Temptation in Cookeville, Tennessee, says she also feels it is unnecessary and a waste of money for businesses to post signage regarding their bathroom policies. Because his club has a third unisex bathroom – showing a picture of Bigfoot, a woman, a man, and an alien, which says, ‘I don’t care if you wash your hands as long as you Who uses it? Another, club inducement for women and men would be among the establishments required to post a sign about their bathroom policies.

“I think it’s a waste of time, given that my business is an LGBTQ bar, my customers are 50-50 in terms of straight versus LGBT,” she says, noting that in her experience, it is more about them. Is about women, women who are most likely to use the toilet regardless of their designation – something that flies in front of talking points that push for a signage bill by MPs. “I haven’t had a problem for four years, serving a very diverse group of people – and I politically – talking about people coming to the bar to drink wine and play pool and watch Am. Drag show or karaoke.

“I don’t think people are going to see people sitting in and out of the bathroom. And I find it somewhat strange in the midst of an epidemic and health care issues and education issues and ongoing education issues for small business owners, That now they want to add something trivial to the list of things I need to do to be compliant to my business, ”says McCon.

McConn says he is not sure of the purpose of the law, questioning whether lawmakers want to stop small business owners and impose penalties against them for lack of proper signage.

“Are people going to be on the registry or list of businesses that have unisex bathrooms? Are people stopping at my door asking, ‘Do you have a unisex bathroom?’ … I don’t see what its purpose is, except to target individuals or provide red meat. [politicians’] base. Is it just providing red meat for the base because they lost a presidential election? Because as a trans woman who owns a business, when I go to the bathroom, I go in, I use the toilet and wash my hands,

“I have spent 20 years of transition. I am very happy and lucky that I am in the society. In my 20 years of living as a Wendy, I have never stopped anyone and said, ‘By the way, what is your biological sex?’ So, I do not understand how we reached this point.

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