I was 8 years old in 1998 when gay college student Matthew Shepard was tied to a fence, beaten, and left to die near Laramie, Wyoming. Eleven years after that, President Barack Obama signed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crime Prevention Act making anti-LGBTQ violence a federal hate crime. It is currently the only protection LGBTQ people have in my home state of Tennessee. But I had already realized that I could be hated by or rejected from my community because of my sexuality or gender expression.
Only three of Tennessee’s counties protect people from being fired from their jobs due to their sexual orientation, and a transgender person can be fired anywhere in the state for simply expressing themselves in the gender they identify with rather than the sex listed on their birth certificate.
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#LGBT #LGBTQ #Transgender #TransRights #LivingWhileTrans #Queer #Genderqueer
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