Cropped Photo: Lee Cannon / CC BY-SA 2.0 via MGN Online
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WZTV) – Tennessee’s ‘New Bathroom Bill’ which could affect the transgender community has been expanded to include other areas considered public places.
SB1297/HB1151 seeks to charge members of the opposite sex with indecent exposure if they expose themselves while using a restroom, locker room, dressing room, or shower designated for a sex other than theirs.
However, the bill has now been amended to include more facilities. The current version also includes highways, transportation facilities, places of amusement, parks, places of business, playgrounds and hallways, lobbies, and portions of apartments and hotels which are not part of the actual housing.
The bill would affect transgender individuals for using the listed facilities if not of their biological sex, although the bill does not specify transgender individuals.
However, it does state gender "conditions" will not be a defense to the charge. The bill states "A medical, psychiatric, or psychological diagnosis of gender dysphoria, gender confusion, or similar conditions, in the absence of untreated mental conditions, such as schizophrenia, does not serve as a defense to the offense of indecent exposure."
The bill would also charge anyone of the opposite sex involved in sexual contact.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee (ACLU-TN) has voiced opposition to the bill since it could criminalize children. In a statement release, ACLU-TN says "Because this sweeping bill doesn’t include any age definition, it could even criminalize children, turning the most routine school activities, such as changing for gym class, into crimes."