One state has taken a bold step to protect girls’ bathrooms at their schools.
Tennessee’s Republican Governor Bill Lee has signed a controversial “bathroom bill” that states public schools are not required to allow trans women to use facilities for women and could face lawsuits if they do.
The Tennessee Accommodations for All Children Act states that public schools must allow for single-person restrooms to accommodate trans people who don’t want to use the bathroom of their sex from birth. The law, however, says schools are not required to allow trans people to use bathrooms designated for the sex they were not born with.
“That bill provides equal access to every student,” Lee said. “It’s a reasonable accommodation. It allows for accommodation for every student regardless of their gender. I think that’s a smart approach to the challenge.”
The law defines sex as a person’s “immutable biological sex as determined by anatomy and genetics existing at the time of birth.”
The law says schools must provide a “reasonable accommodation” for trans people, which “does not include access to a restroom or changing facility that is designated for use by members of the opposite sex while persons of the opposite sex are present or could be present.”
The law also applies to some other private facilities like changing rooms and sleeping quarters.
The official summary of the newly signed law also states that “a person whose written request for a reasonable accommodation is denied by the public school will have a private right of action against the public school unless the public school can demonstrate that accommodation causes an undue hardship. A person has a private right of action when the person has given written notice in accordance with this bill,” but the person either “encounters a person of the opposite sex in a multi-occupancy restroom or changing facility designated for the person’s sex and located in a public school building” or “is required by the public school to share sleeping quarters with the opposite sex, unless the persons are members of the same family.”