Director, Believe Out Loud
1,779 Christians Support Transgender Students In Tennessee
Bill Sponsor Withdraws HB 2414 After Transgender Students & Allies Deliver 67,000 Signatures
New York, NY—Today, Tennessee’s harmful anti-transgender bathroom bill was withdrawn after lawmakers received petitions with more than 67,000 signatures. These petitions included signatures from 1,779 Christians urging lawmakers to stop HB 2414, a law that would require students—including those in public schools AND universities—to use bathrooms and locker rooms according to the sex “indicated on the student’s original birth certificate.”
Believe Out Loud’s petitions were delivered by Tennessee transgender students Henry Seaton and Jennifer Guenst and their families. They were joined by representatives of the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee, the Tennessee Equality Project, the Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition, and the Human Rights Campaign.
“I appreciate that I attend a school that does not treat me like a second class citizen, try to segregate me, or invade my privacy like this bill tries to make schools do,” said Jennifer Guenst. “I have been a public school student for two years and haven’t had any issues using the same restroom as other students—it’s this bill that would create a lot of problems for me and my friends. It means a lot to me to be carrying this message of opposition from thousands of people to lawmakers.”
While proponents of this bill said it is about protecting children, HB 2414 would have done exact opposite—it would cause direct harm to transgender youth and teach their peers that it is okay to ostracize and bully trans and gender nonconforming students.
HB 2414 was one of more than 150 anti-LGBTQ bill proposed across the country. Of these proposed bills, 79 misuse religion to justify harm against LGBTQ people, and 44 specifically target trans and gender nonconforming people. In response, Believe Out Loud is mobilizing Christians to send a clear message that God’s love extends to ALL of God’s beloved children.
“Across the country, many people are using Christianity to mobilize resentment against LGBTQ people. They are using their faith to justify harm, and they are working to cement their harmful theologies into law,” says James Rowe, Director of Believe Out Loud. “As LGBTQ Christians and allies, we know it is our mission to mobilize love.”
About Believe Out Loud
Believe Out Loud is an online community that empowers Christians to work for justice for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) people. Reaching an average of 3–5 million people per month, Believe Out Loud is the leading platform in Christian faith and LGBTQ advocacy. Believe Out Loud is a program of Intersections International.