So for those who weren't around yesterday, I got information to write a story, and along with eventually Think Progress and several state blogs in Tennessee - LGBT and others who were on it at the outset - discussed a new bill their General Assembly introduced yesterday that would force people who are transgender to go to the incorrect bathroom for their actual gender.
It immediately started generating discussion all over the place and the fact that there was national attention gave state orgs ammunition to call out these people for introducing the bill. And then the bill's sponsor in the Senate withdrew his bill entirely shortly after the House sponsor did a TV interview saying he wants to "stomp" people who are transgender.
And then, NewsChannel 5 in Tennessee reported this:
"It's just a form of harassing people for no good reason," said Marisa Richmond.
She is a lobbyist for the Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition. Richmond feels this proposed legislation targets transgender people who live and visit the state.
"For any gender non-conforming, or gender variant person, we see this as a violation of their fourth amendment rights against unreasonable searches and seizures," according to Richmond.
She is also concerned what light the proposed legislation puts Tennessee in.
"Already people are on national blogs talking about this. Tennesseans are embarrassed that we're moving in this directions instead of talking about job creation and economic growth," Richmond said.
"I could care less what they think, I could care less what they think," said Representative Floyd.
That's a pretty interesting statement. The response started in Tennessee and the writer of this article specifically spoke to a Tennessee organization. This bill would hurt people in Tennessee. It would hurt his constituents in Tennessee. While the only really important thing to me is that this bill hurts people who are transgender and is focused on stigmatizing them deliberately, it would also hurt parents who want to bring a child of the opposite sex into a bathroom, unless they have at least one of list of medical conditions requiring emergency bathroom use.
To specifically say you don't care about what your constituents and their families, friends and allies think about a bill that will impact them is, I think, beyond the pale for any government representative. It's irresponsible and unprofessional. These people are human beings just like anyone else. You can't "stomp" on them and you can't pretend they don't exist and don't matter. You can't disappear them.
And regardless if someone like me is a "national blog(ger)" or not our analysis is no less valid. And I wrote about this bill because it's important to me, both as a policy disagreement and because of the fact that one of my best friends in the world lives there and he is transgender. This bill was affecting me because it was affecting someone I care about. So, yeah, I wrote about something when I don't live there - though I'm just in Alabama so I'm close to the state - but I stayed up all night the previous night doing this to keep my friend from being forced to live in a state with yet another law that is designed to personally attack him.
And that's what people like Rep. Floyd need to realize. Legislation like this doesn't just impact a tiny subset of people that don't matter. First, they do matter. Second, it impacts their families and friends and co-workers and anyone else they come into contact with in the course of their lives. This bill is more than some "preventive" bill warding off "sexual harassment" or whatever other anti-LGBT stereotypes they might choose to use. It stigmatizes them forever with these labels and it hurts their friends. And if this were law virtually every time a person who is transgender went out in public they would deal with an inordinate amount of stress beyond what they deal with now. And since state law has no problem treating them horribly, other people will join in.
I hope state Senators are paying close attention to what Rep. Floyd is trying to do with this bill. He is being incredibly up front about his views. This isn't something that should be considered supportable.