A transgender Tennessee veteran’s truck was spray-painted with the word “Trump” and then set on fire while she and her three-year-old son slept inside their home just feed away, the Tennessean is reporting.
The woman, who has declined to give her name and asked to be identified only as “Elle,” said she was sound asleep in her Cookeville, Tennessee, home at about 3:30 a.m. Sunday. She went outside to investigate and found that a door was open on her 2006 Harley Davidson edition Ford F-150 pickup truck. She thought nothing of it, assuming she’d left her door unlocked, and went back inside.
Half an hour later, she heard the horn honk, looked outside, and saw that her truck was engulfed in flames.
This is not the America I want my kids growing up in.https://t.co/wjXd02VqrF
— Hail the Glow Cloud (@CombatCavScout) November 8, 2016
“Most of (the paint) got burned off, but one of the police officers pointed out that it said ‘Trump’ on the hood and the back. It just breaks my heart every time I walk past the driveway.”
Elle says that a police officer she spoke to told her that the incident is being investigated as a hate crime. However, when the Tennessean contacted the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office, they could only confirm that they received a report of the arson and vandalism, but would neither confirm nor deny that the incident is being treated as a hate crime.
According to the Advocate, Elle had served in Iraq before being medically discharged in 2007 following a brain injury and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
She’s not sure why her truck was targeted, as she never had any pro-Clinton or anti-Trump bumper stickers on it. Nor does she have any Clinton signs in her yard or windows. She has, however, been an outspoken Trump opponent on social media. She also believes that a Trump presidency would “harm” the LGBTQ community.
— JUSTINISBAE (@__JUSTINISBAE__) November 8, 2016
Elle says that she generally feels safe inside Cookeville (a college town of about 30,000 people in north-central Tennessee), but that things get hairy for her outside of town.
“I’ve been in altercations out of town because I’m transgendered. The last altercation was there (in Crossville) when a man took a swing at me in a bathroom. I’m just trying to live my life. I wouldn’t hurt anyone.”
According to Human Rights Campaign, transgender women — particularly transgender women of color — are the most at risk for anti-trans violence.
“These victims were killed by acquaintances, partners and strangers, some of whom have been arrested and charged, while others have yet to be identified. Although some of these cases involve anti-transgender bias, some are not bias-related and still others don’t have apparent motives.”
In 2015, at least 21 transgender people died due to violence; already in 2016, at least 20 transgender individuals have already been murdered.
Meanwhile, it appears that violence will forever mar the 2016 Presidential Election, as both sides have engaged in, at the least, shoving and throwing punches at one another. And in one extreme instance out of North Carolina, a Republican headquarters building was fire-bombed, according to Fox News.
Some Republicans have made statements that, if not outright advocating for violence, at the very least seem to indicate they’re willing to tolerate it, according to CNN. For example, in September Kentucky Republican Matt Bevin told a crowd that physical violence may be necessary.
“I want us to be able to fight ideologically, mentally, spiritually, economically, so that we don’t have to do it physically, but that may, in fact, be the case.”
Back in Tennessee, as of this writing police have no suspects in the attack that left a transgender veteran’s truck burned to the ground.
[Featured Image by Prash/Shutterstock]