On Jan. 12 Tennessee State Representative Richard Floyd (R-Chattanooga) said he would "stomp a mudhole" into any transgender woman he saw attempting to use a women's restroom. That phrase means to sexually and violently assault someone to the point where they are unable to fight back.
So far, Rep. Floyd's comments have been largely ignored and unchallenged by the mainstream media. How could something so incredibly outrageous and disgusting go unreported?
We are living in a world in which transgender people face extremely high rates of violence and discrimination. Every year I attend the Transgender Day of Remembrance and hear a new list of names of trans people who have been murdered. And, sadly, in my workplace, I hear stories of violence and discrimination on a regular basis.
Rep. Floyd's hateful remarks validate people's misconceptions about transgender people and incite violence against anyone who is gender-nonconforming.
My heart goes out to all of the Tennesseans who are subjected to this kind of violent language and discrimination.
Tennessee, I think about you every day, and I've been talking to my friends and family about how your lawmakers are attacking you and your families.
So many of you are standing strong in the face of recent threats like the "Don't Say Gay" bill, the "Permission to Bully" bill, and, most recently, the "Police the Potty" bill. Your legislators are talking about beating up transgender women and calling gay people perverted predators. Still, you go about your life like everyone else. Every LGBT person, especially LGBT youth, in Tennessee right now is a hero in my eyes.
One such hero is Marisa Richmond of the Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition (TTPC), who has been giving voice to the transgender community and tirelessly advocating for the rights of all Tennesseans for years. When she isn't organizing in local communities or planning events, she's right there in the statehouse meeting with legislators who will talk to her about equality.
Now is the time for all of us who are allies to the transgender community to come out proudly and support all the work groups like TTPC and Transgender Law Center do to create a world that treats transgender people and their families with dignity and respect. We will not have a society free from violence until we dismantle rigid gender norms and stereotypes.