Story to Watch: Proposed Bill in Tennessee to Restrict Public Accommodations for Transgender People

Tennessee Representative Richard Floyd drafted House Bill 2279 to ban transgender or gender non-conforming people from using the correct public accommodations like restrooms and dressing rooms. Representative Floyd shared that his motivation for the anti-transgender bill is in response to news of Macy’s inclusive anti-discrimination policy that protects all customers, including those who are transgender and gender non-conforming, from discrimination.

Specifically he’s referring to a recent incident in Texas where a transgender customer in a San Antonio Macy’s was denied access to the women’s dressing room by a store employee who was later fired for failing to comply with the store’s anti-discrimination policy.

In news coverage of stories like this it is all too common for the media to make false and damaging claims that protections for transgender individuals put other Americans at risk, (something Representative Floyd does at great length) which is an idea that the American Psychological Association has completely rejected. In fact, 15 states and more than 130 cities across the US have enacted laws to protect their transgender citizens from harm and discrimination-- without sacrificing the well-being of anyone.

It is important that media coverage of the discriminatory House Bill 2279 challenge false claims (including those put forth by its sponsors) that protections for transgender people are in any way harmful. The media must also include information about the very real harms that transgender people can face because of misguided fears and discrimination.
GLAAD continues to monitor coverage of the proposed bill that would be a step backwards for equality in Tennessee. We are happy to facilitate and connect journalists with real experts and members of the transgender community who can speak from experience. In addition, our website has information for media professionals covering transgender issues in the GLAAD Media Reference Guide. If you see any problematic or offensive coverage of the proposed bill, please report it using our online incident report form.