Taylor Swift recently gained media attention after donating $113,000 to the Tennessee Equality Project, a nonprofit organization combating anti-LGBT+ legislation in Tennessee, specifically a group of bills dubbed the “slate of hate.”
Most of the media coverage surrounding Swift’s donation has largely been focused on Swift herself, rather than the hateful legislation being considered in the state which she votes.
Don’t get me wrong – as a member of the LGBT+ community, I truly admire her donation and commitment as an ally, but I would like to see more coverage and public knowledge about these bills which would affect basic human rights for citizens of Tennessee.
In the state, 12 separate bills, or six companion bills, have been introduced in both the House and the Senate during this year’s legislative session. Many of these bills died last year after failing to pass, but have been reintroduced as the state legislature would rather accept discrimination than defeat.
According to the U.S. Senate’s website, “House and Senate lawmakers who share similar views on legislation may introduce a companion bill in their respective chambers to promote simultaneous consideration of the measure.”
Tennessee lawmakers such as Sen. Joey Hensley, Sen. Mark Pody, Sen. Todd Gardenhire, Rep. John Ragan, Rep. Tim Rudd, Rep. Jason Zachary, Rep. Andy Holt, and Rep. Jerry Sexton are apparently like-minded as they have introduced the state’s anti-LGBT+ companion bills this year.
Senate Bills 848 and 1034, as well as House Bills 1152 and 836, are similar in that they would allow private adoption agencies to discriminate against prospective parents based on the agency’s religious and moral beliefs.
Senate Bill 364 and House Bill 563 are known as “The Business License to Discriminate” bills which would prevent state government from taking action against a business with discriminatory internal policies. In other words, this bill deems businesses as the victims of discrimination, rather than the LGBT+ community.
Senate Bill 1297 and House Bill 1151 specifically undermine trans and non-binary communities as they would expand the offense of indecent exposure to “include incidents occurring in a restroom, locker room, dressing room, or shower, designated for single-sex, multi-person use, if the offender is a member of the opposite sex than the sex designated for use.”
Let’s remember that many trans and non-binary folk are discouraged from using facilities aligned with their gender identity, and this bill targets them specifically.
Senate Bill 1499 and House Bill 1274 are similar to a bill introduced last year which would require the Attorney General to defend school districts that engage in anti-transgender bathroom discrimination. What’s disgusting and disheartening is this bill targets school-aged children.
Back again for another round is “The Tennessee Natural Marriage Defense Act” as Senate Bill 1282 and House Bill 1369, which would “defend natural marriage between one man and one woman regardless of any court decision to the contrary.”
Good to know Tennessee lawmakers disregard rulings by the Supreme Court.
While I’m happy to hear about Swift’s donation and commitment to fighting discrimination, people should be more aware and concerned about why she donated to the Tennessee Equality Project, rather than the feel-good fact that she did so.