Nashville DA Refuses to Enforce Tennessee’s Transgender Bathroom Sign Law


Nashville’s District Attorney Glenn Funk won’t enforce Tennessee’s new transgender bathroom signage law, posing a direct challenge to the state legislature and Governor Bill Lee. The governor signed the bill into law last week; it will go into effect on July 1. In a statement shared with The Tennessee Star, Funk asserted that the law represents hate.

“I believe every person is welcome and valued in Nashville,” asserted Funk. “Enforcement of transphobic or homophobic laws is contrary to those values. My office will not promote hate.”

Although the law includes a provision requiring entities or businesses to comply within 30 days, it doesn’t include any provisions for district attorneys that refuse to enforce the law.

Following Funk’s refusal, Lee gave reporters an ambiguous response.

“I think his decision will be his own,” said Lee. “I signed the law; it’s his decision how he wants to respond to it.”

In 2018, The Star reported that Lee supported local-level decisions over state-level decisions concerning transgender and gender identity usage of school bathrooms and locker rooms.

In response to a question concerning the ban of transgender bathrooms a year prior, Lee said that he disagreed with statewide policies handling those issues.

“[I] believe a statewide policy on an issue like that is not in the best interest of Tennesseans. It’s divisive and destructive and […] that’s government intervention into areas of life that I don’t think we ought to intervene,” said Lee.

Lee has had stronger reactions to Funk’s refusals of enforcing law in the past. After Funk announced he wouldn’t enforce the law requiring abortion providers to inform patients of available abortion reversal procedures, the governor subtweeted Funk.

“A district attorney purposefully disregarding current, duly enacted laws by the legislature is a grave matter that threatens our justice system and has serious consequences,” wrote Lee. “The rule of law is the cornerstone of our legal system, and we all take an oath to uphold the law, not to pick and choose what laws to follow based on politics or personal feelings.”

According to the new state law, businesses or entities open to the public allow individuals to use any bathrooms or other facilities based on gender identity rather than biological sex. They must post a notice on the entrance to any facilities that are: open to the general public, designated for a specific biological sex, and a facility or area where a person would have a “reasonable expectation of privacy.” This includes public restrooms, locker rooms, shower facilities, and dressing areas. It doesn’t include unisex, single-occupant restrooms or family restrooms open to either biological sex.

The sign must read:

“Notice: This facility maintains a policy of allowing the use of restrooms by either biological sex, regardless of the designation on the restroom.”

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Corinne Murdock is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and the Star News Network. Follow her latest on Twitter or email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Gender Neutral Bathrooms” by tedeytan. CC BY-SA 2.0.





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9 Thoughts to “Nashville DA Refuses to Enforce Tennessee’s Transgender Bathroom Sign Law”

  1. JB Taylor

    Nashville’s District Attorney Glenn Funk is violating his oath of office by not upholding existing laws. He needs to be removed from office immediately. Too many Democrats picking which laws to violate or ignore. We need to send many more of them to the Unemployment line.

  2. william delzell

    Good for the Nashville D.A.! He has more important things to crack down on like drunk drivers, drug dealers, fraudsters, armed criminals like the person who just shot up a San Jose’ transit garage today, etc. If I were the Governor or his Tea Party legislative stooges, I would have my birth certificate handy in case the Lee secret police demand that I produce it before using the men’s room to prove I am not trans. Wouldn’t Lee be embarrassed if his church parishioners mistook him for a trans-man!

  3. 83ragtop50

    I thought that Tennesseans elected a governor not an accommodator who ducks “controversial”. I use quotes around controversial because there should be nothing controversial about securing the privacy and safety of 95%+ of the people.

    1. Deborah Lawson

      I would think that the Governor and the Tennessee Legislature would have better things to do than waste taxpayer dollars on a clearly mental issue with those who do not want to stay within their biological sex, which is 1% of the population, how about dealing with the crime that affects 100%.

  4. Cannoneer2

    Maybe the legislature needs to create the new Division of Bathroom Police under the Department of Safety next year.

  5. Kevin

    Hmmm, an “Officer of the Court” refusing to obey the law, I wonder what Joe, Kamala, Nancy and Chuck would do? We’re going to quickly see if Bill, Cameron and Randy have the testicular fortitude to do what is right and what the law requires! Throw Funk out!

    Also folks, remember reelection bids by Bill, Cameron and Randy in 2022, are just around the corner!

    And by the way, how about somebody starts thinking about and protecting the rights of us normal people? I don’t want to have to worry about my wife going into a bathroom with somebody who can’t understand that men have “outies” and women have “innies”.

  6. Mark Knofler

    Funk refuses to enforce any law. Nashville practices what is known as soft justice, commit a crime in Nashville and get a slap on the wrist. In another decade Nashville will be unrecognizable, just another crime ridden Demonrat run crap hole. #VotetheBumsOut!

  7. Russ Crouch

    Is enforcing the law not his job? Making the law to be enforced is NOT.

  8. rick

    Funk has eliminated his confusion of which restroom to use, a final career move!