Tenn. senator calls 3 proposed bills an attack on LGBTQ+ community

Published: Nov. 21, 2022 at 8:15 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - As the nation mourns the mass shooting at the LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs, Memphians have begun asking questions about what circumstances could’ve led to this outcome.

State Senate Minority Leader Raumesh Akbari says rhetoric from the political arena isn’t helping.

“When you have rhetoric from elected officials that is not supportive of that community, it creates this environment where you can see these actions of hate,” Akbari said, referring to what she called blatant anti-LGBT legislation that was pre-filed earlier this month.

She went as far as to call the consequences of such legislation “literally life and death.”

Senate Bill 1 seeks to halt medical professionals’ ability to offer gender-affirming health care to minors. Senate Bill 3 would criminalize public and private drag shows if children are able to view them.

Both bills were introduced by State Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson.

Action News 5 reached out to Johnson to see if he had a comment about the latest chatter equating laws, like the ones he wants to be passed in Tennessee, to being a direct result of hate crimes against the LGBTQ+ community.

As of Monday night, Johnson hadn’t responded, but he did tell WSMV in Nashville earlier this month that these laws aren’t an attack on the community.

“I want every Tennessean to live a full life,” Johnson said. “But the state of Tennessee has an obligation to protect kids.”

For Tami Montgomery, who owns Dru’s Place in Midtown, Johnson is using the guise of protecting children to push discriminatory legislation.

“It’s just political talking points,” Montgomery said.

It’s unclear what motive led the shooter to open fire and kill five people in the Colorado Springs bar, but Montgomery thinks the political discourse across the country played a part.

“The more crap like that that’s out there... the worse it makes it,” Montgomery told Action News 5. “It makes a 20-something kid from Colorado Springs think they should go in and shoot up a gay club.”

Montgomery said Dru’s Place is going to be holding a fundraiser for the victims of the mass shotting in Colorado Springs.

An exact date and time of the event has not been set in stone yet.

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