Transgender service members testify in historic Congressional hearing; Tennessee anti-LGBTQ bills could cost state billions; Anti-transgender bills die in South Dakota
WASHINGTON—For the first time ever, five transgender service members testified in front of a congressional committee this week, showcasing the extensive harm that President Trump’s proposed transgender troop ban would cause to the U.S. military. Several anti-LGBTQ bills are being considered in Tennessee. And a slew of anti-transgender bills have been killed in South Dakota. Freedom for All Americans’ Weekly LGBTQ Nondiscrimination Update has all the latest developments that should be on your radar:
Transgender Service Members Testify in Front of U.S. House Committee:
For the first time ever, transgender service members on Wednesday testified in front of a U.S. congressional committee. The troops told their personal stories and showed the harm that President Trump’s proposed ban on transgender service members would have on the U.S. military. Five transgender service members, some highly decorated, testified in front of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Military Personnel that transgender soldiers should be able to serve openly as they already have been for the past three years. Major military leaders agree that no harm is caused by allowing transgender troops to serve openly.
To get a better sense of how transgender Americans and service members experience discrimination every single day, please visit Faces of Freedom—a new LGBTQ movement-wide resource that elevates the stories of LGBTQ people and allies.
Stories of transgender service members include:
Tennessee Anti-LGBTQ Bills Could Cost State Billions in Federal Funding:
Next week, Tennessee lawmakers will consider a number of anti-LGBTQ bills. A bill that state lawmakers have dubbed the “Tennessee Natural Marriage Defense Act” would nullify any court ruling that established marriage equality, including the landmark 2015 Supreme Court ruling that legalized marriage equality nationwide. The bill goes as far as to say that state employees who do not comply with those rulings cannot be arrested and that the state attorney general would defend this legislation in court. According to a fiscal analysis of the legislation, since the state would be violating federal law, Tennessee could lose $9.4 billion in federal funding. Additionally, Tennessee lawmakers are considering several other anti-LGBTQ bills, including two that would allow state-funded adoption and foster agencies to deny services to LGBTQ families based on the agency’s religious beliefs. Under the bill, single and unmarried couples could also be turned away. Finally, lawmakers have introduced a bill that would allow businesses to discriminate against LGBTQ people in hiring practices, as well as a bill that would penalize transgender people for using locker rooms that match who they are.
Anti-Transgender Bills Die in South Dakota Legislature:
All four anti-transgender bills introduced in the South Dakota legislature this year have been defeated. The bills specifically targeted transgender students: HB 1205, SB 49, HB 1108, and HB 1225, that targeted transgender kids’ access to basic medical care, accurate health education, and their ability to participate in school sports. This is the fourth year in a row that lawmakers in South Dakota have introduced anti-transgender legislation targeting transgender youth—none of which has ever passed.
Freedom for All Americans is working to secure comprehensive nondiscrimination protections for all LGBTQ Americans, no matter which state they call home. For more information on state-specific legislation, or to browse our stories of discrimination, please visit www.FreedomForAllAmericans.org.
[From A News Release]