NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Transgender people in Tennessee would be prevented from changing their driver's licenses and birth certificates under legislation approved by Republican senators Monday.
The legislation, which still must clear the House chamber, would define male and female in state law and base people’s legal gender identities on their anatomy at birth. Legislative officials have warned that enacting the bill could cost the state millions in federal funding because the definition conflicts with federal rules.
According to the fiscal review, Tennessee faces a potential loss of $1.2 billion of federal education funding and $750,000 of federal grants dedicated to help women and children. Other state and local governments could also be impacted, but the review did not detail a specific amount.
LGBTQ rights advocates have long argued that having a driver’s license or birth certificate match a person’s identity is not only personally important but also beneficial to avoiding harassment.
However a handful of Republican-led state, including Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas have introduced similar bills as GOP lawmakers put transgender issues at the forefront of their legislative agenda.
Gov. Bill Lee, Tennessee's Republican governor, has not said publicly whether he supports the legislation.