Currently, sexual orientation and gender identity are absent from Tennessee hate crimes laws. That means February 2008 transgender beating victim Duanna Johnson (who was shot later that year in an unrelated incident) wouldn't have had much recourse if she'd attempted to pursue her abuser — former Memphis Police officer Bridges McRae — with a hate crimes violation. McRae beat Johnson with handcuffs after she refused to answer to "he/she" and "fag."
On Thursday, October 29th, OutLaw and the Stonewall Tigers are hosting a panel discussion on the current status of hate crimes legislation in Tennessee. The panel will feature Representative Jeanne Richardson, Senator Beverly Marrero, Johnson's former attorney Murray Wells, hate crime survivor Jack Robinson, and Tennessee Equality Project board member Darlene Fike. The panel will run from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in rooms 250 and 252 in the Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law at the University of Memphis.