The following is a statement from Tennessee Equality Project, a 501(c)(4) organization dedicated to advocacy for LGBTQ+ issues at the state legislative level in Tennessee.
TEP has been monitoring the flurry of proposed anti-LGBTQ bills during this year’s Tennessee legislative session. If passed, these new and returning bills from 2019 would prevent transgender youth from playing sports aligned with their gender identities; strip inclusive contracting power from counties, cities, universities, and school districts; and enable further taxpayer-funded discrimination against all transgender students in Tennessee.
You may have seen that the first bill debated and passed in 2020 was an adoption discrimination bill that allows private adoption agencies to receive our community’s tax dollars, and then reject foster care and adoption services based on moral or religious grounds. You can still contact Governor Lee and tell him to veto the adoption discrimination bill. A veto is in the best interests of our state — business does not like discrimination, and being inclusive is the right thing to do in our great Volunteer State. If he has signed the bill by the time of this dispatch, you can respectfully tell him that it was the wrong thing to do: (615) 741-2001 or via this web page. Speaking up and speaking out is vital. It lets elected officials know that we’re paying attention and that we care.
It is critical that our community and allies stay aware and act. Because these bills move so quickly, we need everyone to sign up for our action alerts at this web page. If on Facebook, join the Tennessee Equality Project group and like TEP Shelby County Committee if in the area. Twitter users can also find us: @tnequality. However you choose to stay informed, keep an eye out for actions and please take them as you are able — whether via email, phone, or in person.
Voting is CRITICAL this year — not only for president, but also for U.S. Congress and state-level elected officials. After all, these state elected officials are those voting on the discriminatory legislation we are fighting. ENSURE that you are still registered and that your voter registration has not been purged. REGISTER if you have not yet done so, or need to re-register: you can visit this web page to do so.
Become aware of who your state-level representatives are via this web page. We need every person who is able to join us at one, two, or all three of Advancing Equality Days on the Hill. These are the first Tuesdays in February, March, and April. Showing up in our elected officials’ offices in Nashville makes a remarkable difference on their hearts, minds, and votes. Travel coordination is being planned as we speak, and travel reimbursement is available if you volunteer to carpool a group of constituents. Visit the Facebook event pages below for the respective information on these events.
Thank you for all that you do to support equality,
Shahin A. Samiei (He/Him/His)
TEP Shelby County Committee Chair