Chattanooga transgender reverend says proposed bill seeks to criminalize transgender people

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CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) – Rev. Alaina Cobb sat down in front of the House Judiciary Committee in Nashville on Tuesday.

She was there to testify against House Bill 1151.

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“The problem with law is that in cases like this when groups of people become political footballs our real lives get sensationalized and pushed aside. The reality is that I am not a threat anymore than any other woman and yet I face a much greater risk of assault than other women,” Rev. Cobb said.

On Wednesday the committee debated the bill.

It includes adding restrooms, locker rooms, dressing rooms and showers designed for multi person, single sex use as a public place under the indecent exposure law.

“I care about clarity of the law. Having said that, the rule of law if it’s going to be followed requires every individual who has to obey that law to understand it very clearly and this is just adding clarity to an existing law,” the bill’s sponsor Rep. John Ragan (R-Oak Ridge) said.

“Yeah we had a lot of laws in the 50’s and 60’s in this state a that there was clarity for as well so I hope we’re not going down the same path, thank you,” Rep. Bo Mitchell (D-Nashville) said.

Cobb said she has been following the bill and was asked to testify.

She said she’s transgender and intersex and that the bill soft targets transgender people.

“The only people that would be harassed for using a bathroom or locker room or a changing room are people whose bodies outside of the norm whether that means they are intersex or transgender or if they’re just, somebody that isn’t pretty enough,” Rev. Cobb said.

Cobb also is a pastor at Mercy Junction Justice and Peace Center in Chattanooga.

She said that many churches have been supportive of her, and called the bill a social justice issue.

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