Waymon Hudson

Transgender Woman wins Election in Tennessee

Filed By Waymon Hudson | February 11, 2008 9:54 AM | comments

Filed in: Politics, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: Marisa Richardson, Tennessee

PhotobucketMarisa Richmond has become Tennessee’s first openly transgender person to win an election in the history of the state.

Richmond won over 99% of the vote to become the Davidson County Democratic Committeewoman to represent District 23. She is also a candidate to be a delegate to the Democratic National Convention this summer in Denver.

Richmond says, “I want to see Tennessee be part of an even larger GLBT, and especially transgender, caucus in 2008 in Denver.”

Richmond also serves on the Board of Directors of the Tennessee Equality Project and is President of the Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition. She serves on the Board of Directors of the National Transgender Advocacy Coalition (NTAC) as the Congressional Lobbying Coordinator, and on the Board of Advisors of the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE).


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WAY TO GO, MARISA!!! I knew you had it in you.

That's frackin' amazing.

Let us woot.

99%? I'm guessing she was uncontested....

But still, this is awesome!

Very cool! I met Marisa in DC in 2004, and she is an amazing activist and political strategist. Tennessee could not have chosen better. Just goes to show you that even in traditionally red states the voters are not always ruled by strict ideology but rather by enlightened self-interest. My bet is that not only is she the first transperson elected in Tennessee, but she'll be the first reelected as well.

This is an election within the Democratic Party, this was not a public election. She did not win a public office, she didn't even win a state Democratic position but a district comittee. There have been actual TG people elected in TN for public office. She was elected by others on the comittee not every Democrat in the state or even that District had the choice to vote for her. This sounds great but in reality someone is making a big deal over something very small.

Marisa was the first transgender person I met when I first came out in the mid-1990s. She's been a great friend ever since. Her work in building, first, an ongoing T community in Nashville, and, later, a political organization, has given others, myself included, a template to follow in our own areas. She'll represent our community well in Denver.

All I can say Marissa is...

Mega CONGRATS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

BEAR A-M Rodgers | February 11, 2008 2:50 PM

You do realize it is just a Democratic committee position for internal Democratic Party issues, not an actual elected political seat in TN? She is a funder and fundraiser, so the vote was a formality and she had no one running against her for the position since it was for GLBT only (as informed by the Nashville Hillary Clinton campaign HQ). I am glad Trans folks are getting DNC committee positions, but this says little for Tennessee opinions about Trans politicians or our rights.
As for actual Tennessee Political history, there have been 2 TGs voted into real political offices. Marisa is NOT in a TN political office, so her self written press release to all the GLBT and T* media folk is full of exaggerations (lies). Reality check at District 23 and across the nation. Don't tip the server. Don't break your arm patting yourselves on the back or bruise your knees kissing the wrong hind-end.

Just in case people are wondering, BEAR doesn't like Marisa because she won't put up with is constant s--- in TN. So, please take his comments with a grain of salt. There's bad blood between them.

Of course, take it with a grain of salt...because he is telling the truth about situation. Bad blood does not mean he is calling this article into question is wrong. Swallow the BS like most and go to bed thinking something in TN has changed. She isn't the first elect TS person. There are other TS who won real offices in public elections but let this article rewrite our trans-history. It make me sick to see so many TG leaders try this crap.

Old-timers or historal facts are swept to the curb for the person or event of the day. Do what you will, but I will hold onto the real TG history all the way back to Stonewall and beyond. I worked on a county wide comittee to address housing defintions of family two years ago. I am a TS person. Wait there was no election, plus I did so to help my community and I didn't need my horn blown so others would think me important. Honor and service are held within. Outer praise fades...inward worth doesn't if it is true. Marisa may do wonderful things but why make a district position in the Democratic Party sound like she was elected to public office or that it was a public election? Why lie about being the first? Why?

So what if it was an internal vote for an internal position? What the hell has she ever done to deserve this kind of negativity?

Fight the real enemies: Barney and the Scampaign.

There's more negativity in this thread than there was in the one about the Scampaign's so-called 'diversity'-oid.

I guess the questions I have would be:

(1) Is *Marissa* making any of the claims? This post is by someone named Waymon Hudson.

(2) If so, did she know about the other elected transfolk? Could she have reasonably known about them?

I can guarantee you that had Amanda Simpson or Dana Beyer won their state legislative contests, for whichever was first (I think it Simpson's race was earlier; apologies if I've gotten the order reversed) the headlines - in mainstream media, gay media (friendly as well as the Washington Blade) and probably even most trans media - would have, without malice, called her the first transsexual state legislator, even though that would not be true.

People forget about the MTF TS who lucked into a seat in the Massachusetts Legislature for one term back in the 90s - and largely with good reason. Hell, I can't even remember her name off the top of my head (its Althea Garrison) and I teach a course in trans history at a major university; I always have to go check when the subject of trans elected officials comes up.

Ten years ago when I my column started in the late, lamented Texas Triangle, and before Gwen Smith got her column going,I referred to myself a few times as the only trans columnist in a gay paper. I later learned that that wasn't the case; it turned out that I was wrong, but I had not been trying to usurp anyone.

I'll repeat: Fight the real enemies: Barney and the Scampaign (and lets toss in Wilchins for good measure.)

The article is inaccurate, and contains out and out lies. If you go to Out and About Newspaper even the very date she was select is wrong. The date is given as Feb 5 to make it sound like her selection was part of "Super Tuesday" elections, when in fact the Democratic District Conventions were held on Saturday, Feb 9. You can verify that at http://www.tndp.org/. Some of the response is negative because lies are being held up as truths. If you don't was negative responses then try to tell the truth and don't embelish it.

Okay. So let's all just take a step back.

Whatever personal feelings may be involved, this is a good thing. I found this story when I was combing some different gay news websites and thought it was good to see a black, transwoman in any office in Tennessee. I thought it was a uplifting, exciting story about the continued leadership and visibility that coming out of the LGBT community.

If there are other openly TG people that have been elected, please feel free to let us all know here so we can celebrate them as well. But let's not attack each other, or this woman, for taking a leadership role and trying to make a difference for our community.

The details I reposted were taken from a couple of different news sources. If they are inaccurate, then respectfully give what you see as the truth. Simply say, "Let's not forget so-and-so, who was trans and also elected" or something. Please do not start talking about holding up lies and embellishing anything.

I agree with Kat, let's fight the real enemies, not each other.

The point is the information had to come from Marisa, because I am quite positive the TN Democratic Party did not issue press releases concerning this. Every news source has the same basic information so their source is the same press release. She would have had to issue press releases that the your news sources used.

Doesn't lying bother you? It has nothing to do with bad blood or being negative. It has to do with what is true and what is honorable. Do you think these sites aren't read by outsiders? News from our community that is not 100% accurate puts every TS in a bad light. It's another thing that can be twisted to convince others to hold on prejudice or stereotypes. Lies, any lie, is also our emeny if it is the truth. We can't afford the luxury of them.

marisa richmond | February 12, 2008 8:16 PM

To clarify, I never claimed that I had been elected to public office. All I said in a personal note to friends (which was never officially issued as any sort of press release, but was shared by friends who were excited by the news & has been picked up by the local, and now national, media) was that I had won an election. I never made the claim that I won a public office, but I did have to qualify for the ballot like any other candidate and people went into the voting booth on Super Tuesday & punched the ballot by my name.

I also told my friends that I was the first openly transgender person to win an election in Tennessee. That is true. I never said I was the first transgender person to win. I have met several other transgender elected officials in Tennessee, but none of them is out. I wish they were.

Finally, I have not been selected to be a delegate yet. At this point, I am a candidate for delegate. In my note to my friends in the 5th Congressional District, I was simply asking for support. The final group of delegates will not be determined in Tennessee until March 8. I still hope to be included once the full delegation is complete, whether from the 5th District or in an at-large position. I don't care how I get selected as long as Tennessee's transgender community has a seat at the table in Denver.

I hope this clarifies some of what has been said about me. Thanks to all who offered warm wishes and congratulations.

"I have not been selected to be a delegate yet. At this point, I am a candidate for delegate. In my note to my friends in the 5th Congressional District, I was simply asking for support. The final group of delegates will not be determined in Tennessee until March 8."

Well, good luck on that. I've only made it as far as state conventions (MN in 2000; IA in 2004), so I'll keep my fingers crossed for ya.