NATIONAL NEWS: Tennessee Transphobic Bill Could Cost Nashville $58 Million

Plus: N.C. NAACP will do sit-ins if HB 2 isn't repealed, and American Idol finalist publicly offends LGBTQ community.

Photo by Ted Eytan on Flickr

Photo by Ted Eytan on Flickr

Nashville mayor Megan Berry warns Tennessee lawmakers of the financial harms of transphobic bills.

Megan Berry, Nashville’s first female mayor, is speaking out against pending legislation that would force transgender students in Tennessee to use bathrooms/locker rooms that do not adhere to their personal gender identity. Introduced by Republican representative Susan Lynn and senator Mike Bell, House Bill 2414 and its companion, Senate Bill 2387, are modeled after controversial transphobic laws recently passed in North Carolina and Mississippi. “This legislation doesn’t reflect Nashville’s values and doesn’t do anything to improve the quality of life for citizens of our city or state,” Berry said in a formal statement. “If some lawmakers don’t see the value in recognizing people’s dignity and privacy, I hope they can at least see the negative economic impact and potential loss of revenue to Nashville and the State of Tennessee.” The Democratic mayor also noted that “conventions might pull out of Nashville or eliminate our city from consideration should HB2414/SB2387 become law — resulting in a potential loss of over $10 million in state and local tax revenue and nearly $58 million in direct visitor spending removed from our economy.” National outcry against a similar bill in South Dakota forced the governor to veto it.

North Carolina’s NAACP chapter plans sit-ins if transphobic bill HB 2 is not repealed by April 21st.

North Carolina has until April 21st to repeal its anti-LGBTQ bill HB 2, a nondiscrimination law that does include sexual orientation or gender identity in its definition of protected categories, or N.C. NAACP president Rev. William Barber says his chapter will hold a “mass sit-in” at the legislature. “We cannot be silent in the face of this race-based, class-based, homophobic and transphobic attack on wage earners, civil rights, and the LGBTQ community,” Barber said in a news release. “Together with our many allies, we will coordinate a campaign of nonviolent direct action along with other forms of nonviolent protest that will instruct our legislators with respect to the rights of all people.” As the North Carolina General Assembly is scheduled to return on April 25th, any repeal action would require a special session. However GOP legislators and some of the general public have been adamant that the law not be repealed.

American Idol finalist La’Porsha Ranae thinks being LGBTQ is a choice, and fans are outraged.

Riding high off her recent American Idol runner-up title, La’Porsha Ranae is drawing backlash for offensive remarks. During a press conference call, the Mississippi native was asked about recent anti-LGBTQ laws passed in her state and around the country. She replied:

“This is how I feel about the LGBT community: They are people just like us. They’re not animals as someone stated before. They’re people with feelings. Although all of us may not agree with that particular lifestyle for religious reasons, whatever the reason is, you still treat each other with respect. Everybody is a human being. We should be able to coexist with one another.”

Her follow-up remarks were not very flattering either:

“I am one of the people who don’t really agree with that lifestyle. I wasn’t brought up that way. It wasn’t how I was raised. But I do have a lot of friends and a lot of people that I love dearly who are gay and homosexual and they’re such sweet, nice people. We should just respect each other’s differences and opinions and move on.”

Some Idol fans are offended because Ranae is making the suggestion that being LGBTQ is a personal lifestyle choice, instead of a natural born reality. This is not the first time an Idol finalist disappointed LGBTQ fans. In 2006, finalist Mandisa made anti-gay remarks that led to similar public backlash in the media.