Tracy Murphree, a GOP candidate for Denton County sheriff, has faced criticism following a post on his Facebook page, which has subsequently been removed, where he threatened physical violence against transgender people.
Posted on April 22nd, Murphree wrote; 'This whole bathroom thing is craziness I have never seen. All I can say is this: if my little girl is in a public women's restroom and a man, regardless of how they identify, goes into the bathroom, he will then identify as a John Doe until he waked up in whatever hospital he may be taken to. Your identity does not trump my little girl's safety. I identify as an overprotective father that loves his kids and would do anything to protect them.'
Despite receiving hundreds of likes and comments from people who agreed with his stance Murphree eventually removed the post after an outpouring of condemnation from the LGBT+ community, their allies, and people with sense.
One of those who spoke out against his comments was Amber Dyden Briggle, who was a candidate for Denton City Council District 3, and is the mother of an 8 year old transgender son. Amber has been an outspoken advocate for transgender issues in the past, having also appeared at a TedTalk to discuss being the mother of a transgender son, as well as the challenges he faces in everyday life.
She wrote; 'As the parent of a transgender child who is only 8, Tracy, this ... really, really upsets me. I know you are a protective parent, but SO AM I. If my son were to walk into the women's room, looking the way he does, he would no doubt be corrected and sent to the men's room. What we've done now is call attention to a young child, only 8 years old, who is now behind doors with a bunch of men - had he walked in there to use the bathroom to pee in the first place, no one would have batted an eye, because he looks like and IS a boy.'
Murphree responded to Briggle's comments by insisting that he is not a bigot, and instead insisted that she was part of the problem.
'Amber, you have demonstrated part of the problem. You advocate your right to defend your child and state that your child has the right to pee in peace. Yet when I advocate my right to defend my child and her right to pee in peace I'm a bigot and dangerous. I am not a bigot, I have nothing against you or your child. I would defend both of you with my life.
'Yes, I will be the next sheriff, and I will serve all citizens. I will not sit back and not voice my beliefs and opinions. I will not give in to the political correctness police. I will not be threatened by those who call me a bigot or ignorant. I have no issue with transgender. That's between them and God. The few transgender rights do not trump the rights of the many. I will not stand by in political correctness afraid of being labelled and allow a male to enter a bathroom my daughter occupies. I just won't do that.'
Murphree went on to tell the Dallas Observer, 'This is not an anti-transgender issue. It's a safety issue. I'm not afraid of transgenders. I'm afraid of who will take advantage of the rules to get close to kids. The rights of transgenders do not trump the rights of anyone else.'
Not only as Murphree's comments massively insulting to transgender people and their supporters, but they are blatantly advocating the physical violence against transgender individuals (something that is illegal, which you would think a law enforcement officer would be aware of) and are contradictory one moment to the next.
A massive part of the issues around the transgender bathroom laws, as we all know, is that there is no evidence what-so-ever to back up the opinion that there is any connection between trans people using the correct bathrooms and sexual assaults on women and children. Transgender people are the ones that are the most likely to come into harm by using the wrong bathrooms, and violence and sexual assault on women and children is statistically more likely to occur from someone they know over a stranger.
The notion that Murphree is complaining that he has been labelled a bigot because he wants his daughter to be safe is laughable. Mr Murphree, you are not being called a bigot because you want your daughter to be safe, you are being called a bigot because you are encouraging physical violence against a marginalised group. That's why Amber is not a bigot and you are, because she is preaching a message of peace and acceptance, whereas you are threatening to beat someone unconscious.
People who believe that people are safer from sexual predators because there is a law in place that tells trans people to use the bathroom of the gender they were assigned at birth then you are a fool. People already break laws, laws against violence, sexual assault and paedophilia, are you seriously saying that your bathroom law is the one that will make them say 'damn, that's one law too many now, best not go and abuse some kids'?
If anything these laws are making it easier for people to perpetuate these kinds of assaults. I very, very highly doubt that a predator is going to go through the trouble of crossdressing and pretending to be a transgender woman in order to get into the women's bathroom. Luckily for them though they don't have to now, as they can just walk into a public bathroom and say that they were assigned female at birth and that the law is telling them to be in the women's bathroom. You've just gone and make things worse for everyone except the predators.
Anti-trans bathroom laws benefit no one. They put transgender people in danger. They allow people to be open to abuse. They make states, and America as a whole look incredibly bigoted and hateful (the UK Foreign Office is actually warning LGBT+ people about travelling to America now). They are losing business and states money.
These laws are wrong, people like Murphree who call for violence against trans people are wrong. Don't be remembered as one of the people who got it wrong when history looks back on this, be one of the ones who did the right thing.