TN Faith Leaders Speak Out in Support of Transgender Students

Advocate Andy

Pastors say recently passed legislation is "harmful" to students

Following the Tennessee General Assembly's passage of legislation targeting transgender students, members of the Southern Christian Coalition spoke out in support of all students and inclusive policy.

In a media release that followed a previous video conference, pastors called on the General Assembly and Gov. Lee to protect all students, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

“I call on all of our Tennessee elected officials to support an educational policy that is both adequate and equitable, and not a policy that harms our children,” said Rev. Laura Becker, Pastor of Northminster Presbyterian Church in Chattanooga. “Education policy that embodies moral values would focus on ensuring that every child has access to quality education, regardless of their race, their background, their sexual orientation, their gender identity, or where they call home. Period. From threats to dissolve school boards to removing funding from school districts that support transgender students, Tennessee's Supermajority Republicans are focusing on culture war topics and passing legislation that actively harms students, all while avoiding the fact that Tennessee provides less in state funding per student than almost any other state in the country.”

“Whether we are Black, white, or brown, native or newcomer, transgender, or cisgender, we want our kids to have the freedom to be themselves and pursue their dreams,” said Rev. Brandon Baxter, Pastor of Spiritual Formation at West End United Methodist Church in Nashville. “And unfortunately, this Supermajority Legislature is trying to hold on to power by putting us in boxes based on what we look like, where we're from, or what our genders or gender identities are. Instead of coming together to fully fund high quality education, they pass laws to exclude transgender kids from healthcare, from school and from sports."

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Andy Spears is a middle Tennessee writer and policy advocate. He reports on news around public policy issues - education, health care, consumer protection, and more.

Nashville, TN

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