Much has unfolded in the day since the “Bathroom Harassment Act” was first introduced in the Tennessee legislature, a bill that would fine transgender people $50 for using bathrooms and dressing rooms.
First, state Sen. Bo Watson (R) has withdrawn his version of the bill. He had introduced it as a courtesy to state Rep. Richard Floyd (R), who represents the same region of Tennessee. In a statement to ThinkProgress, Watson’s communications director explained that “Sen. Watson concluded that there are far more pressing issues facing the state of Tennessee at this time.”
Floyd now stands alone as the sponsor of the bill (HB 2279), which he defended yesterday using incredibly transphobic rhetoric. In no uncertain terms, he explained that he would resort to violence if he ever encountered someone transgender in a dressing room:
FLOYD: I believe if I was standing at a dressing room and my wife or one of my daughters was in the dressing room and a man tried to go in there — I don’t care if he thinks he’s a woman and tries on clothes with them in there — I’d just try to stomp a mudhole in him and then stomp him dry.
Don’t ask me to adjust to their perverted way of thinking and put my family at risk. We cannot continue to let these people dominate how society acts and reacts. Now if somebody thinks he’s a woman and he’s a man and wants to try on women’s clothes, let him take them into the men’s bathroom or dressing room.
In an extended interview with WTVF News Chanel 5, Floyd doubled down on his comments, claiming that his bill doesn’t “penalize anybody,” it “protects everybody,” and he could “care less” what transgender advocacy groups think. Watch it:
This bill is nothing short of an outright attack on transgender people, and Floyd’s comments make it clear he lacks any understanding or compassion for the trans community. Enforcement of this bill could lead to ID checks in public restrooms and would be devastatingly stigmatizing, especially considering Tennessee offers no option for individuals to change their birth certificate gender markers. Even individuals passing through one of Tennessee’s airports or bus stops could be targeted for these fines, just for being transgender.