Victory
Petitioning Tennessee State House and 1 other

Don't Punish Transgender Students For Who We Are: Don't Pass HB 2414/SB 2387

My name is Henry Seaton. I’m a transgender student at a public high school in Tennessee. Right now, my state’s lawmakers are debating a set of bills that would cause enormous pain to me and other transgender students in my state. I need your help to make sure these bills never become law.

These bills – HB 2414 and SB 2387 – would ban transgender students from using the restrooms in public schools and universities that correspond with our gender identities.

I’m a boy – I live my life as a boy, my friends know me as a boy, my parents accept me as a boy. But now I have to use the teacher’s bathroom because a bunch of politicians feel uncomfortable with who I am? That’s not right.

I often lay in bed too afraid to attend school. But I’m still fighting here. Join me to tell Tennessee lawmakers not to take this drastic step that would legalize bullying and stigmatize and humiliate transgender students. That’s not what laws should do.

Bills like these are part of a nationwide wave of attacks on transgender people. Many of these attacks target and isolate students like me. In South Dakota committed activists and allies convinced the state’s governor to veto a bill just like the two I’m fighting in my state. At first, the situation looked bleak – the governor had never even met a transgender person before. But thousands of people took a stand to support the rights of transgender people, and we won a huge victory.

I know we can do this in Tennessee. If we shine a spotlight on fear and misinformation, we can show Tennessee lawmakers that we won’t tolerate legislation that harms transgender students.

Personally, I think our elected officials should spend their time making sure that every student can be safe and feel welcome. Where we can use the bathrooms is important enough, but these bills are about more than that. They add to the bullying, harassment, and violence we already face. Almost half of all transgender people attempt suicide at some point in our lives. I don’t want transgender students to be punished for who we are.

We’re not alone in trying to stop these bills. After the victory in South Dakota, momentum is on our side. In Tennessee, 75 faith leaders have publicly opposed these bills. Thankfully, my state’s governor, Bill Haslam, is already worried about the hundreds of millions of dollars in federal Title IX funding that Tennessee would lose if these bills become law. We need to convince lawmakers how much is at stake.

The tide is turning. And the voices of those of us fighting for transgender people’s safety and dignity are stronger than ever.

Let’s stand together to protect all students and make public schools a place where all feel welcome. On behalf of the transgender students who will suffer if HB 2414/SB 2387 becomes law, thank you for taking action.

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