SB 2777/HB 2633 gives civil immunity to teachers who choose to misgender a trans student on purpose, cruelly singling out trans students for harassment.
This behavior can have serious costs. Trans children in Tennessee schools already face extreme cases of harassment and danger. In fact, 76 percent of them already aren’t allowed to use their correct pronoun in the classroom, and 78 percent heard negative remarks about trans people in school. This number is severe, to the degree that it could even be deadly. Around 40 percent of trans people report a suicide attempt in their lifetime, with 92 percent of these attempts being made by young people under the age of 25.
The truth is clear: trans children have healthier and happier lives when they’re accepted in their communities. This bill does the exact opposite – increasing the risk of self-harm, depression, anxiety, and suicide. This legislation tells thousands of children across Tennessee that our state would rather see them suffer than see them thrive, which is a deadly message to send.
This bill also raises serious statutory and constitutional concerns by singling out trans students for worse treatment by educators than their peers – all other students get to be referred to by the pronouns that match their gender. This bill would also result in outing trans students, which is a violation of student privacy rights.
Trans students deserve the chance to feel safe and supported and succeed in classes. But this bill would force many trans students to suffer without any chance of reprieve in order to succeed in academics, or to leave unsupportive classrooms entirely. That’s a choice no child should ever have to make. Any teacher that harms a child would – and should – be robustly reprimanded for doing so. Trans children are no exception to this.
Enough is enough. Trans children deserve equal protection, and to be simply treated as human. Children aren’t political pawns. Encourage lawmakers to affirm trans humanity over dangerous bullying.