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Tennessee advocates work to combat anti-LGBTQ legislation

Updated: Jun. 10, 2021 at 6:28 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - During the 2021 legislative session, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee signed five bills into law that target the LGBTQ community.

Now, advocates are working on ways to continue the fight for equality.

This session, Lee signed five bills targeting the LGBTQ community, including:

  • A law that denied students and staff in Tennessee public schools the ability to use the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity.
  • A bill prevents trans girls from participating in youth sports
  • A bill that restricts public school classroom discussions about LGBTQ people.

Shahin Samiei is the Shelby County committee chair for the Tennessee Equality Project (TEP) a statewide nonprofit organization that focuses on LGBTQ advocacy, particularly in the public policy sphere.

“All of it is dangerous. Absolutely. All of it is dangerous to any, any bill that targets individuals’ equal rights as one that’s unacceptable in our country or for humankind,” says Samiei.

TEP is helping people make their voices heard to their elected officials against anti-LGBTQ legislation.

“When I see families who have transgender youth, that they’re doing the best they can to take care of these children, just like any other parents would and their own states, their own governor, their own elected officials are saying your children don’t have the same rights as their peers in school. These are people who now have to make decisions. Is this community, is this region a place that’s safe for my family,” says Samiei.

With more anti-LGBTQ legislation in the pipeline for next year’s session, Samiei encourages people concerned to get to know their elected officials, make phone calls, make appointments and write letters. Samiei has hopes of amplifying their voices for equality for all.

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