Transvisibility in Tennessee: 5 Questions with Marisa Richmond


5 Questions with Marisa Richmond

Nashville native Marisa Richmond grew up as part of a politically active family in Bordeaux. In 2003, Richmond became the first president of the Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition. Marisa Richmond is the first black trans woman to be elected a delegate to a major party convention from any state in the union. Also the first trans woman to win an election in the state of Tennessee.

1. How would you describe your spiritual or philosophical perspective?

Philosophically, I am a person who is focused on securing our basic Constitutional rights, since the 14th Amendment states that no state shall “deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

2. How has your spiritual or philosophical perspective evolved over time? What kinds of opportunities and challenges have shaped your perspective?

My basic philosophy regarding equality has existed for as long as I can remember. My commitment to equality for all came early as both of my parents were active in the civil rights movement in Florida before I was born and in Tennessee as I was growing up. They taught me that nobody should ever be allowed to deny me, or anyone else, their rights. The biggest challenges I faced were entrenched racism as I was growing up, and transphobia, both external and internal to the community, as I became an adult activist.

3. How do you see your work (vocation, calling, advocacy, role, etc) in the world? How does your spiritual or philosophical perspective relate to your work?

I am an educator, so I attempt to educate people about diversity and basic Constitutional rights. Furthermore, as a historian, I try to educate within the trans community about the history of other social justice movements, and how we can learn from them.

4. When do you feel the most vibrant and alive? What resources do you draw on for resilience?

I feel most energetic when we can achieve victories, even small ones that we may be able to apply in Tennessee.

5. What kinds of issues or concerns do you think need more attention in the world?

We need to look at the positive contributions of trans people in all cultures, to further an understanding of diversity,  and so that others will be less likely to fear us.

More about Marisa Richmond

  • Marisa Richmond in the I AM: Trans People Speak project (February 2012)