With LGBT advocates watching the clock as it slowly ticks down toward the deadline for filing new bills, the shape of the Tennessee General Assembly's holy war against the LGBTQ+ community is rapidly taking shape, in the form of the 2021 #SlateOfHate. So far, three hate bills have been filed, though one has yet to find a senate sponsor. The prime targets: transgender teens, same-sex marriage, and inclusivity training.

Trans Teens Under Fire

SB228/HB3 by Sen. Hensley and Rep. Cepicky is a hate bill that attempts to prevent transgender students from participating in high school and middle school sports, by tying gender to original birth certificates, which cannot be altered to reflect accurate gender identity in Tennessee.  TEP notes that there is a  "whereas" clauses that attempts to "pit transgender people against women's sports."

Gay Marriage Under Attack

HB233 by Rep. Leatherwood, according to TEP, "appears to be a caption bill that would eventually carry explicitly anti-marriage equality language. It pertains to marriage licensing and definitions." This hate bill may or may not find a Senate sponsor—it depends on which Republican feels they owe the local Klan fan-service this quarter.

Screw Diversity

SB193/HB372 by Sen. Bowling and Rep. Casada allows government employees (state or local, inclusive of public universities and colleges) to skip trainings or seminars that conflict with their values or religious beliefs.  TEP worries that the hate bill provides a way of undermining LGBTQ-inclusive training sessions and seminars offered by government entities. And in this episode of "AT WHAT COST", think of the scores of unintended consequences, as members of various professions decide that their religious beliefs supersede "objectionable" continuing education!

It will be a couple of weeks yet before we see the full extent of the vile crusade the Tennessee General Assembly—primarily the Tennessee Republican Party, since most of their far-right "democratic" coconspirators have been voted out over recent years—intends to launch against its LGBTQ+ citizenry. If I had to guess, I'd say it'll be ugly, and the street will run red with right wing enthusiasm, as the QAnon sour-grapes-of-wrath ferment and the folks on capitol hill get drunk with power.


For more on past slates of hate, click here!

This article has been republished from Out & About Nashville, and was part of a series of first-person pieces written by the late Bobbi Williams.

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