Explaining why he put forward a bill that would ban trangender people from using dressing rooms and restrooms that do not match the gender on their birth certificates, State Rep. Richard Floyd (R) was quoted recently as threatening to "stomp a mudhole" in anybody who might be wearing the clothing of the opposite sex if they came anywhere near his family.
And while that threat was not taken lightly by the Tennessee Equality Project (TEP), Floyd is showing no signs of backing down.
"It's clearly an indication of violent intent toward transgender people here in Tennessee," TEP president Jonathan Cole told Raw Story. "I had to look up what that meant, and it, um, it's a very vicious thing to say about another human being, about what you would do. It's really appalling."
To "stomp a mudhole" in someone is a decidedly southern expression, which means kicking and stomping someone to the point that they cannot get up. Speaking to Raw Story on Friday, Floyd did not back down from the threat.
"This bill has no vindictiveness, it is not personal, but it is intended to protect," he said. "I have a wife, three daughters, two granddaughters, and there is no way, if some man thought he was a women and thought he had the privileged or the right to go into a women's bathroom, I would no way and stand there and allow that."
According to The Times Free Press, Floyd said he came up with the bill after reading a story about a woman in Texas who claimed she was fired from a department store for violating LGBT policy by attempting to stop a transgender teen from using the women's dressing room.
"It could happen here," he reportedly explained. "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."
He added: "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."
The bill to ban transgender people from bathrooms was picked up by Tennessee state Sen. Bo Watson (R), who initially cosponsored the measure. That sponsorship was withdrawn this week after Floyd's comments were published.
"To be truthful, I think his violent words are one of the factors that lead Senator Watson to withdraw his sponsorship," Cole said.
"The potential for pedophiles and molesters to come into the restroom and claim the same thing, that they think they're of the opposite sex and they think they're something else, something they're not, they can do the same thing that transgender people do," Floyd argued. "[...] We're talking about society getting picked on by a few."
The Tennessee Republican said that he still stands by his threat to "stomp a mudhole" in any transgender person he sees entering a bathroom or dressing room occupied by one of his family members.
"Let me tell ya something, mister," he began. "If I was standing at the door and my wife or my daughter or my granddaughter was in the bathroom and a man tried to go in there, I can guarantee you it'd be a bad hair day for both of us. I don't back up from that, either. I don't back up one iota."
By withdrawing sponsorship in the Senate, Floyd's bill is effectively scuttled. He'll have to reintroduce it in the House and find another Senate co-sponsor if it is to go anywhere.
"Floyd has said he had five other Senate co-sponsors he may be willing to go to," Cole concluded. "We're going to continue to monitor whether the bill gets filed."
Photo: Flickr user cw3283.