LGBT advocates call 25 proposed TN bills 'harmful'

(SOURCE: WMC Action News 5)
(SOURCE: WMC Action News 5)

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Tennessee equality groups are taking a stand against several bills progressing through the Tennessee General Assembly, and the group is asking for other Memphians to help them.

LGBT advocates said 25 proposed bills in the Tennessee legislature could be "harmful."

They are calling the bills "The State of Hate," because they said if they are passed then they will have harmful consequences.

Tuesday, Ginger Leonard took aim at six of the 25 specific bills during a press conference outside OutMemphis.

"We need them to pay attention that this is happening, we need them to make their voices heard," Leonard said.

The six bills include HB 888 and HB 1111.

HB 888 is the controversial bathroom bill and HB 1111 would limit how words are defined such as "husband" and "wife."

"It's awful. It's like turning back time," Leonard said.

Emerson Kirkpatrick said he worries that other children will be bullied like he was if HB 888 passes. The bill would require students to use the restroom by the gender assigned on their birth certificate.

"I'm afraid the bullying is going to get too much to where I will never see them again, and that's a real fear," Kirkpatrick said. "There is a real chance that will happen."

Kirkpatrick, who is transgender, said in high school he would walk a mile to a local store to avoid using the high school restrooms.

"I was using the women's restroom, and I would often get kicked out by people that didn't know me," Kirkpatrick said.

It's negative experiences like Kirkpatrick's that LGBT advocates said they want to prevent.

Advocates are asking for others to make their voice heard by calling their elected lawmakers in Nashville and voicing their disapproval of the bills.

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