It’s now basically illegal to be gay in this Tennessee town

If you happen to be gay or trans in the town of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, you could be breaking the law simply by being yourself in public.

Having transness widely criminalized in certain states and municipalities is nothing new—remember when “indecent exposure” laws that criminalized trans bodies were all the rage in 2015? It’s perhaps no surprise that these measures haven’t died down but instead have merely shifted focus. After Tennessee became the first state to restrict access to drag shows earlier this year, Murfreesboro followed suit this June, passing an ordinance that banned “indecent behavior.” As vague as that phrase sounds, rest assured that the specifics do indeed mention “public indecency, lewd behavior, nudity or sexual conduct.” And sexual conduct in this case could mean anything from engaging in public sex to potentially holding hands with and kissing your partner on the street.

As trans journalist Erin Reed has outlined, the code explicitly includes “homosexuality” writ large as “indecent behavior” under the law. Which is disconcerting, to say the least.

But there’s a silver lining here—sort of. Gay audacity can’t be stopped, and citizens of Murfreesboro are taking to the streets to show their flaunt their homosexuality in full view of the law.

And before you say “well, that’s clearly a backwards hick town,” it’s actually not. It’s about a 20-minute drive from Nashville. The people of Tennessee are raising their voices in protest of the Draconian ordinance.

Thankfully, the Tennessee Equality Project is already on it—but we still need to keep spreading the word. If it can happen in Tennessee, it can happen in any Red state.

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