Note: If you clicked on this link from the Times News Editorial, go to the new campaigns for the week of April 19 at https://www.tnep.org/take_action_on_dangerous_bills_moving_the_week_of_april_19 . You can call Governor Lee and urge him to veto SB1229/HB529 by calling him at 615-741-2001 .
2021 has been the toughest legislative session in years. The week of April 12 is no departure as discriminatory bills continue their advance. Take action and fight back using the campaigns and events below.
If you are available to meet by phone or Zoom with your state senator and/or state representative in the next two weeks, be in touch at [email protected] and we will get you information to prepare you.
Monday, April 12
Tuesday, April 13
*SB1224, the anti-transgender bathroom sign mandate bill, is up in Senate Judiciary Committee.
*HB1233, anti-transgender student bathroom bill 2.0, is up in House Finance Committee. The Senate companion bill has been delayed on the Senate floor and has been reset for April 19.
Wednesday, April 14
*HB578 and HB1027, bills attacking gender-affirming care for trans youth, are up in the House Health Committee.
*HB529, the parent opt-out bill for sexual orientation/gender identity curriculum, is on the House floor.
More discriminatory bills are getting dangerously close to passing. Take action on these bills moving the week of April 5.
Monday, April 5
*SB1229, the sexual orientation/gender identity curriculum opt-out bill, and SB1367, the anti-transgender school bathroom bill 2.0, are on the Senate floor.
Tuesday, April 6
*HB1027, the caption bill regulating gender-affirming care for trans youth, is back in the House Health Subcommittee.
-Use the new email campaign under HB578 with Wednesday's action steps. It is a combined campaign that includes HB1027.
*SB1224, the anti-transgender bathroom sign mandate, is up in Senate Judiciary.
Wednesday, April 7
*HB578, the bill attacking gender-affirming care for trans youth, is up in the House Health Committee.
*HB800, the bill banning LGBTQ content in school textbooks and instructional materials, is up in House Education Instruction Committee.
-Use this easy email campaign for HB800 and the two bills below. It will go to members of Senate Education Committee and House Education Instruction Committee. Add your own written or video message.
*SB659/HB1535, a bill that would ban supplemental curriculum materials not approved by the state, is up in Senate Education and House Education Instruction Committees.
-See the email campaign above for HB800.
Thursday, April 8
*SB126, another anti-trans youth health care bill, is on the Senate floor.
Many dangerous bills are still moving through the Legislature during the week of March 29. Here are some ways you can take action.
Monday, March 29
*HB1182, the anti-transgender bathroom sign mandate, is on the House floor.
Tuesday, March 30
*HB800, the bill banning LGBTQ content in school textbooks and instructional materials, is up for a vote in the House Education Instruction Subcommittee.
*HB1027, the caption bill that could be amended to regulate gender-affirming care for trans youth, is up in the House Health Subcommittee.
Wednesday, March 31
*HB529, the sexual orientation/gender identity curriculum opt out bill, is up for a vote in the House Education Instruction Committee.
-See the email form under HB800 on March 30 for the email campaign on this bill. It is a combined campaign.
*SB126, the caption bill that could be amended to regulate gender-affirming care for trans youth, is up in the Senate Health and Welfare Committee.
-See above under March 30 for the email campaign that sends an email to the House and Senate committees on the bill.
A record for discriminatory bills moving the week of March 22! Here are ways you can take action.
*SB228/HB3, the anti-transgender student athlete bill, is up for a vote on the House floor.
*HB1027 is a caption bill that would likely carry language regulating gender-affirming care for transgender youth. It is on notice in the House Health Subcommittee.
*HB1182, the anti-transgender bathroom sign mandate, is BACK ON NOTICE after being taken off notice. It is up for a vote in the House State Government Committee.
-If you would like to leave messages for the members of the State Government Committee, find the script with phone numbers here.
*HB800 would ban LGBTQ content from the public school curriculum. HB529 would require schools to let parents opt their students out of sexual orientation/gender identity curricula in public schools. Both bills are up for consideration in the House Education Instruction Subcommittee.
-Use this easy form to send emails to the subcommittee. Feel free to add your own message in the blank space.
-Online Event: People's Preview of the State presented by Tennessee Advocates for Planned Parenthood. 6:00 p.m. Central Time.
*HB578, the bill attacking gender-affirming care is up for a vote in the House Criminal Justice Committee.
-If you would like to leave phone messages with the members of the committee, find the scripts and phone numbers here.
*SB126 is a caption bill that would likely carry language regulating gender-affirming care for transgender youth, is on notice in the Senate Health and Welfare Committee.
-The email campaign for this bill is combined with the March 23 campaign on the companion bill up in the House Health Subcommittee. See above.
*SB1229, the bill that would let parents opt their students out of sexual orientation/gender identity curricula in public schools, is up for a vote in the Senate Education Committee. SB1367, which is an anti-transgender student bathroom bill 2.0 is up in the same committee on the same date.
-Use this easy form to email the Senate Education Committee on both bills. Add your own message in the blank space.
-Online Event: TEP Knox, Anderson, and Blount Counties virtual meeting at 6:00 p.m. Eastern Time.
-Online Event: TEP Shelby County virtual meeting at 6:30 p.m. Central Time.
-Virtual Event: TEP Tri-Cities virtual meeting at 6:30 p.m. Eastern Time.
More anti-LGBTQ bills are moving the week of March 15. We urge you to take action by participating in the March 15 phone bank and using the email campaigns listed below. Be sure to use the blank space in each email campaign to add your own personalized short message.
Monday, March 15
*Zoom phonebanking event against the bills below at 6:30 p.m. Central Time: https://www.facebook.com/events/160316425916433/
Tuesday, March 16
*SB1124/HB1182, bathroom sign mandate, up in House State Government Committee. GOOD NEWS! The bill was taken OFF NOTICE on March 16.
Wednesday, March 17
*SB657/HB578, attacking gender-affirming care for trans youth, up in House Criminal Justice Subcommittee. The bill passed the subcommittee. There will be an amendment removing criminal penalties in the full committee, but no version of this bill is acceptable.
*SB193/HB372, diversity training opt out bill, in House Public Service Subcommittee. Taken off notice on March 17.
*SB1367/HB1233, Bathroom Bill 2.0, up in House Education Administration Committee
-If you want to leave phone messages for the members of the committee, find the scripts and phone numbers at this link.
Thursday, March 18
*SB228/HB3, anti-trans student athlete bill, on the House floor.
-Email campaign on the bill: https://ujoin.co/campaigns/1209/actions/public/1615478903?action_id=1251
Discriminatory legislation is moving fast the week of March 8. We have listed each bill below and what you can do. But before we list the specific tasks for each bill, here are a couple of extraordinary steps you can take:
1. Do you want to have a virtual meeting with your legislators to discuss these bills? Here's how to set one up. If you give us a day's notice before your meeting, we may be able to help brief you. Email us at [email protected] for more details.
2. Do you want to help with media calls this week? Reporters around the state may contact us for comment on different bills. Particularly if you are trans or nonbinary and want to talk to the media about these bills, let us know at [email protected] Include your city of residence when you send your email. Note: If you volunteer for this responsibility, you should be prepared to respond to media calls the same day you get the request.
The bills moving this week and action campaigns:
*SB228/HB3, the anti-transgender student athlete bill, has passed the Senate and could be up for a floor vote at any time. Use this easy form to contact your member of the Tennessee House and add your own message in the blank space.
*SB1367/HB1233, which is a bill that requires schools to make accommodations for students who don't want to share restroom/locker room space with transgender students, is up for a subcommittee vote on March 9. Email the subcommittee with this link and add your own message in the blank space. Make calls or leave messages for some of the members of the subcommittee using the script and numbers at this link.
*SB657/HB578 attacks gender-affirming care for transgender youth and is up for a vote on March 10. Email the subcommittee at this link if you have not already done so. Make calls or leave messages with the script and phone numbers at this link.
*SB1224/HB1182 is a bill that requires businesses and public buildings with transgender-inclusive restrooms to post signs that say: "THIS FACILITY MAINTAINS A POLICY OF ALLOWING THE USE OF RESTROOMS BY EITHER BIOLOGICAL SEX, REGARDLESS OF THE DESIGNATION ON THE RESTROOM." These signs will endanger transgender people and could lead to aggression against trans-inclusive businesses. Call or leave messages with the subcommittee using the script and phone numbers at this link. Email the subcommittee members with this easy form and add your own message in the blank space.
This is the current shape of the #SlateOfHate in Tennessee.
SB228/HB3 by Sen. Hensley and Rep. Cepicky: This bill repeats the effort to prevent transgender students from participating in high school and middle school sports. It ties a student's gender to the original birth certificate. The "whereas" clauses attempt to pit transgender people against women's sports. Governor Lee signed the bill after it passed both legislative chambers.
SB562/HB233 by Sen. Bowling and Rep. Leatherwood: This bill appears to be a caption bill that would eventually carry explicitly anti-marriage equality language. It pertains to marriage licensing and definitions. The bill has not moved this session.
SB193/HB372 by Sen. Bowling and Rep. Casada: This bill allows employees of state or local government (which also includes public universities and colleges) to skip trainings or seminars that conflict with their values or religious beliefs. We believe that the bill provides a way of undermining LGBTQ-inclusive training sessions and seminars offered by government entities. Taken off notice on March 17.
SB1229/HB529 by Sen. Rose and Rep. Moody: This bill would require public schools to notify parents before offering any curriculum about sexual orientation and gender identity. The bill allows parents to opt their children out of such instruction. Governor Lee signed the bill into law.
SB657/HB578 by Sen. Bowling and Rep. Ragan: This bill criminalizes gender-affirming care for transgender youth. Passed House Criminal Justice Subcommittee on March 17. It will be amended in the full committee to remove the criminal penalties, but no version of this bill is acceptable. Moving in House committees. The bill has not moved in the Senate and will be up in the House Health Committee on April 14.
SB1216/HB800 by Sen. Niceley and Rep. Griffey: This bill censors LGBTQ content in public school textbooks and instructional materials. It's an updated version of the old "Don't Say Gay" bill. The bill passed the House Education Instruction Committee on April 7 and is headed to House Finance. It is said that it will not move in the Senate this year.
SB1238/HB1177 by Sen. Pody and Rep. Jerry Sexton: This legislation is an anti-transgender "bathroom" bill. The bill has not moved this year.
SB1367/HB1233 by Sen. Bell and Rep. Zachary: Anti-transgender student bathroom bill 2.0. Governor Lee signed the bill into law.
SB1224/HB1182 by Sen. Rose and Rep. Rudd: This will requires businesses that have transgender-inclusive restrooms to post signs saying, "THIS FACILITY MAINTAINS A POLICY OF ALLOWING THE USE OF RESTROOMS BY EITHER BIOLOGICAL SEX, REGARDLESS OF THE DESIGNATION ON THE RESTROOM." That will make restrooms less safe for transgender people and it will lead to aggression against inclusive businesses. Passed House State Government Committee with some minor amendments on March 23. Governor Lee signed the bill into law.
SB126/HB1027 by Sen. Haile and Rep. Kumar: This is a caption bill that will likely carry language regulating gender-affirming care for transgender youth. Moving in Senate and House committees. Governor Lee signed the bill into law.
SB659/HB1535 by Sen. Bowling and Rep. Weaver: This bill is a wide-ranging effort to prevent supplemental materials from being used in public school curricula. One effect would be to inhibit LGBTQ-inclusive materials. The bill is heading to the House floor, but it won't be heard in the Senate Education Committee until next year.
SB1208 by Sen. Pody: "As introduced, prohibits this state and any political subdivision of this state, or any official of this state or a political subdivision, from creating, enforcing, or endorsing policies that respect or promote non-secular self-asserted sex-based identity narratives, sexual orientation orthodoxy, or non-secular marriage doctrine because the policies fail the Lemon test, as established by the United States Supreme Court in Lemon v. Kurtzman, 403 U.S. 602 (1971)." Note: There is no House sponsor at this time.
If you would like to support our work of tracking legislation affecting the LGBTQ community, you can make a contribution at this link.
The following information was written by and is presented in partnership with the Tennessee Department of Health:
World AIDS Day was Dec 1, a day when we remember lives lost to this global pandemic and acknowledge the many lives which continue to be affected by HIV. Thankfully, in recent years we have much to be grateful for when considering options for HIV prevention. In addition to external and internal condoms (www.freecondomstn.org), we now have biomedical HIV prevention options which include PrEP, an antiretroviral medication which reduces the chance of contracting HIV by 99% when taken as prescribed, and PEP, a 28-day antiretroviral treatment for people who may have been exposed to HIV within the previous 72 hours. Below you will find the answers to several important questions about these HIV prevention options.
PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis)
Who could benefit from taking PrEP? Anyone who does not have HIV and who may be likely to encounter HIV. This could be someone who is sexually active and doesn’t use condoms consistently or is not in a mutually monogamous relationship (i.e. both partners only have sex with each other, and no one else), someone whose partner is living with HIV, or someone who shares injection equipment with other people when using drugs or silicone, as well as anyone who feels that PrEP will allow them to take more control of their sexual health and reduce their anxiety about HIV.
How does PrEP work? When HIV enters the body, it attacks our immune system through our CD4 T cells, using those cells to make more copies of the virus. PrEP stops the virus from making copies of itself inside the CD4 T cells, preventing HIV from taking hold and stopping it from reproducing.
How do I take PrEP? PrEP is currently approved by the FDA as a once-daily pill. It should be taken about the same time of day, every day, and can be taken with or without food.
Is PrEP safe? Yes! The medications used for PrEP have been around for 20 years as antiretrovirals used to treat people living with HIV, so we have many years of data to tell us about how PrEP affects our bodies. A very small fraction of patients may have a decrease in kidney function or an increase in bone density loss, but both side effects are reversible when PrEP is stopped. Your doctor will monitor kidney function through labs and determine if monitoring is needed for bone density, as well.
Which medicines can be used for PrEP? The first PrEP regimen approved by the FDA was Truvada, in 2012, followed by Descovy, in 2019. While both daily medications work extremely well, there are some differences between the two. First, Truvada is approved for use in cisgender and transgender individuals of all genders, while Descovy is currently only approved for use as PrEP in people assigned male at birth. (Studies are under way to expand approval to include people having receptive vaginal sex.) Second, while Truvada should only be used by people with normal kidney function, Descovy may be used by some people with decreased kidney function. Additionally, as of this fall, a generic version of Truvada is also available. Finally, recent studies have shown a long-acting injectable medication, Cabotegravir, to be another highly effective option which may soon be available for use as PrEP.
Does PrEP have side effects? As with any medication, some people experience mild side effects when they first start taking PrEP, often called “start-up syndrome.” These can include nausea, dizziness, lack of appetite and headache. Only about 20% of patients will have any side effects, and they usually stop within two weeks to a month after beginning PrEP.
Is PrEP safe to use with gender-affirming hormones? Yes! Although there is limited research on trans folks who use PrEP and gender-affirming hormones, what data that does exist indicates that PrEP does not affect hormones for either trans men or trans women, and hormones do not significantly affect PrEP, either.
What do I have to do to get PrEP? In order to get PrEP, you’ll need to see a provider, either in person or virtually, for an initial visit and follow-up appointments every 3 months. At those appointments you’ll also do important lab work, including HIV and STI (sexually transmitted infections), kidney function (creatinine), pregnancy (if applicable), and every six months to one year, Hepatitis B and C testing (depending on need).
Once I start PrEP, do I have to stay on it forever? No way! PrEP is a medication intended to be used when you need it and stopped when you don’t. We like to think about “seasons of pleasure,” when you may have more sexual or drug use encounters in which you could be exposed to HIV. During these times you may choose to use PrEP to protect yourself from HIV. If your likelihood of being exposed to HIV changes, you may choose to stop using PrEP. However, it is important to remember to discuss stopping PrEP with your provider and before starting it again, even if you already have your prescription filled. This is because you’ll need new labs drawn to be sure it’s still safe for you to take PrEP.
Also, keep in mind that it takes 7 days for PrEP to reach maximum efficacy for anal sex and 21 days to reach maximum efficacy for vaginal sex or blood exchange, so if you have a short window of time when you think you don’t need PrEP, consider continuing to use it so that you’re protected when you need it down the road!
PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis)
When should I seek PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis)? PEP should be used in cases when there is a strong likelihood that someone who does not have HIV has been exposed to HIV within the last 72 hours, which could include not knowing the HIV status of a sex partner with whom you had condomless sex (anal or penile-vaginal), having condomless sex with someone who is living with HIV and who is not virally suppressed (undetectable), or sharing syringes or other works with someone with whom you used drugs or injected silicone, and whose HIV status you do not know, or who is living with HIV. PEP is for emergency situations and not a substitute for regular use of HIV prevention methods such as using condoms, taking PrEP or not sharing needles or works.
How do I take PEP? PEP is usually prescribed as a combination of three antiretroviral medications, taken once or twice daily for 28 days. There are several different combinations of medications which can be used for PEP, depending on the patient’s needs.
How does PEP work? PEP works by preventing HIV from replicating in the body after a recent exposure.
Is PEP safe? Yes! PEP regimens consist of several anti-retroviral medications which have been used to treat people living with HIV for many years, so we have a lot of data on how these medicines affect the body. There is more than one PEP regimen, so your doctor will have options to consider if you have a specific medical concern.
Does PEP have side effects? Some people experience side effects such as fatigue, dizziness, nausea, flatulence, and headache, although most side effects go away or become manageable within a few days or weeks. Some of these side effects can be managed with over the counter or prescription medications, as well.
PrEP and PEP Access
How do I get PrEP or PEP in Tennessee? Many, but not all healthcare providers in Tennessee will prescribe PrEP and PEP. First go to www.GetPrEPTN.com to learn more about PrEP and PEP, then find a navigator to help you walk through the process and to find a doctor to prescribe the medication. This website is available in Spanish, as well.
How much do PrEP and PEP cost? You may have heard that PrEP and PEP are expensive. Thankfully there are a number of programs that can help to pay for prescriptions or prescription copays, and some even cover labs and appointment fees. Don’t know where to start? Don’t worry! Our navigators are trained to help you find the right program, fill out the paperwork, and make sure that PrEP or PEP is accessible to anyone who needs it! You can find a navigator here: https://getpreptn.com/get-prep/. Even if you don’t live nearby, navigators can help you remotely via phone, text, or video chat- whatever works for you!
For more information about PrEP and PEP, check out the following resources:
We are pleased to release the application for the Marisa Richmond Public Policy Fellowship at this link.
The Marisa Richmond Public Policy Fellowship is a program for Black transgender, gender non-conforming, and non-binary undergraduate students enrolled in an accredited Tennessee college or university who are interested in public policy advocacy. The fellowship honors the federal, state, and local advocacy of Dr. Marisa Richmond in the areas of racial justice and LGBTQ rights.
Three applicants will be selected for the Spring 2021 fellowship, ideally one from East Tennessee, one from West Tennessee, and one from Middle Tennessee depending on the geographic diversity of the application pool.
Fellowship recipients will receive a $1000 stipend and participate in Zoom/conference call discussions with leading advocates to explore key issues in public policy and build their network. The program will go from mid-January through March to coincide with the state legislative session. There are no project or work requirements so that students can focus on their academic requirements and self-care.
APPLICATIONS ARE DUE ON DECEMBER 11 BY 8:00 P.M. EASTERN TIME/7:00 P.M. CENTRAL TIME. Submit your answers through this Google form. Questions should be directed to [email protected]. The fellowship is a program of the Tennessee Equality Project Foundation.
The Tennessee Equality Project rescinds our endorsement of Sen. Steven Dickerson in the Tennessee Senate District 20 race.
Although he has an exemplary record on LGBTQ rights in the Legislature, elected officials are called to speak out against racism in politics.