Grand Divisions

Tennessee Equality Project seeks to advance and protect the civil rights of our State’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons and their families in each Grand Division.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Birth certificate and hate crimes bills filed today

Two bills vital to the safety and equality of transgender people in Tennessee were filed today in the Legislature. Both bills will be familiar to equality advocates around the state as they have appeared in previous sessions

Birth certificates: Rep. Jeanne Richardson (D-Memphis) filed HB0187 that allows an amendment to one's birth certificate for gender. Tennessee is the only state by statute that prohibits such a change. The bill is important because one's birth certificate is used as a form of identification for employment, etc.

Hate crimes: Rep. Richardson also filed HB0188 to add a penalty enhancement factor for hate crimes committed on the basis of gender identity or expression. There is an existing penalty enhancement factor for sexual orientation. We have sadly seen a number of hate crimes against the transgender community in Tennessee over the last few years.

The Tennessee Transgender Coalition has taken the lead over the years in advocating these important pieces of legislation. TEP has been glad to support the bills. Equality advocates will have the chance to work on their behalf again on March 1 at the 7th annual Advancing Equality Day on the Hill.

-Chris Sanders

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