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New Tennessee bill could require gender at birth to be listed on drivers licenses

From NewsChannel 9: Choosing which box to check for your sex on your driver’s license doesn’t seem very controversial for many Tennesseans.


But as lawmakers debate whether they should restrict that, the Transgender community says it’s another strike against them.


“Science is clear. Biology is clear. Genetics is clear,” says Rep. Gino Bulso. “If you have 2x chromosomes, you’re female. If you have an x and a y, then you’re male.”

A new Tennessee bill under discussion says the “sex” on a Tennessean’s license should match what’s on a person’s birth certificate.

But members of the LBGTQ+ community that testified before lawmakers say it will make their lives more difficult.


“This bill’s strict binary understanding of sex is to sentence us to, sentence me, to purgatory throughout state law,” says Derron Johnson, a chaplain and LGBTQ+ advocate.

One lawmaker had a strong response.


“When we continue to spit in the face of God as a nation we are going in the wrong direction. I want the blessings of God, not the curse of God,” says Rep. Rusty Grills.

But for Henry Seaton…


“It adds a level of danger for a lot of trans people,” says Seaton.

A member of the ACLU, Seaton has been fighting for the rights of transgender community members since high school.


I kind of came to the conclusion that to prevent me from being bullied or harmed, I would not be allowed to use the men’s restroom.

He says this change will create more problems than needed.


“It adds like a heightened level of scrutiny for DMV workers and for trans people who want to do that on their driver’s license,” says Seaton.

The bill’s fiscal note says this could put 1.2 billions dollars in federal funding in jeopardy.


That bill has passed the full Senate in Tennessee.


The House will consider it after debating the state’s budget.