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Businesses will now be forced to post signs announcing they serve transgender customers in Tennessee

bathroom sign that says "We don't care."
Photo: AP

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee (R) has signed one of the cruelest anti-trans laws in the nation, which will require businesses and public buildings to warn cisgender customers that they serve transgender people like any other customer.

It is the second bill restricting transgender public accommodations signed into law recently by the governor and the fourth specifically targeting transgender people.

Related: Tennessee enacts law allowing youth a “reasonable accommodation” to avoid trans kids

The new Tennessee law requires any “building or facility open to the general public” that allows transgender people access to the bathroom to post a sign that reads: “This facility has a policy of allowing the use of restrooms by either biological sex, regardless of the designation on the restroom.”

“Gov. Lee’s decision to sign H.B. 1182 will cause real harm to transgender Tennesseans,” Human Rights Campaign President Alphonso David said in an emailed statement. “Denying transgender people the ability to access a bathroom consistent with their gender identity is degrading and dehumanizing — and can have real health and safety consequences. Gov. Lee and Tennessee lawmakers are determined to discriminate against the transgender community and roll back the clock on equality instead of focusing on real problems facing Tennesseans.”

“To be clear — Tennessee residents will suffer economic, legal, and reputational consequences of these bills and we will hold those who are indoctrinating hate into our laws accountable.”

The NCAA, 110 corporations, and major medical and child welfare organizations have spoken out against this year’s onslaught of anti-transgender legislation, including Tennessee’s bills, which have been dubbed the “slate of hate.” The college athletics organization said that it expect hosts of their sporting events to be “safe, healthy and free of discrimination” and the corporations denounced the bills, saying that the bills will affect their “complex decisions about where to invest and grow.”

Gov. Lee also signed H.B. 529, a law requiring schools to notify parents if sexual orientation or gender identity are going to be mentioned in class 30 days in advance and gives parents the ability to opt their children out so that they don’t have to hear that LGBTQ people exist.

One of the other laws ban transgender people from multi-occupancy restrooms and locker rooms in public schools, including colleges, and another would ban transgender youth from playing school sports.

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