Tennessee lawmakers advance transgender ‘bathroom bill’

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Tennessee lawmakers have advanced legislation that critics argue is designed to restrict which public restrooms and other areas transgender people can use.

A House subcommittee agreed Wednesday to send the proposal to a full hearing. Roughly a dozen protesters held signs signaling their opposition.

Republican Rep. John Ragan is the bill’s sponsor. He says the bill is needed due to confusion caused by Obama-era regulations that had instructed schools to allow students to use bathrooms and locker rooms in line with their expressed gender identity as opposed to their sex assigned at birth.

President Donald Trump’s administration has since rolled back those regulations, but Ragan says confusion remains.

Ragan wants Tennessee’s indecent exposure law to specify that the “public places” the law applies to includes public restrooms, locker rooms and dressing rooms designated for single-sex, multi-person use.

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