Press release from Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition; March 25, 2012:
This past week, State Representative Debra Maggart (R-Hendersonville), who has a long history of attacking members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community, turned her attention on crossdressers.
In response to justified comments by Rep. Mike Turner (D-Old Hickory), that the Republican majority in the House is dominated by social-agenda extremists who are “preoccupied with sex,” Rep. Maggart accused the Democrats of “overcompensating” and “filing bills for transvestites”, in a reference to HB 0187 by Jeanne Richardson, which would provide for amendment of birth certificate to reflect a change in gender.
Aside from the fact that after 35 years, Tennessee remains the only state in the entire country to pass a legislative act to ban gender changes, and aside from the fact that the bill as written does not even cover crossdressers, only liberating those who have legally changed their gender, to attack any segment of the transgender community is reprehensible.
As the National Transgender Discrimination Survey, released in February 2011, illustrates, transgender, gender variant, and gender non conforming people face tremendous discrimination in housing, employment, and health care. Transgender, gender variant, and gender non conforming people face discrimination in courts and by law enforcement. Transgender, gender variant, and gender non conforming people face harassment and bullying in schools. Transgender, gender variant, and gender non conforming people often have to endure hate crimes, sometimes resulting in death, which the State of Tennessee still does not consider to be especially bad.
While the Birth Certificate does not specifically cover crossdressers, her attack on a persecuted minority is inexcusable, and she should issue an immediately apology and retraction.
Further, the Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition challenges Rep. Maggart to sit down and meet face to face with her transgender constituents to learn more about their lives and challenges.