A candidate for sheriff in Denton County found himself in the middle of a controversy on Monday after making a post some felt encouraged violence against the transgender community.
Tracy Murphree made the post on Friday to Facebook:
"This whole bathroom thing is craziness I have never seen. All I can say is this. If my little girl is in a public women's restroom and a man, regardless of how he may identify goes into that bathroom. He will then identify as John Doe until he wakes up in what ever hospital he may be taken to. You identify does not trump my little girls safety," wrote Murphree.
It was a painful few sentences to read for Denton residents like Amber Briggle, who is a mother of a transgender child.
"I feel like they might have gotten a blessing then from potentially the future sheriff for vigilante justice," said Briggle.
Briggle had just cast her vote for Murphree in the recent primary.
"I don't think Tracy is a bad person. Sometimes good people can say stupid things," said Briggle.
Briggle's 8-year-old is transgender and she now feels Murphree's comments put her son in danger.
"It's my son," said Briggle. "He's acting as a protective parent and so am I."
Murphree said he regrets that he did not explain himself better.
"I understand how they interpreted it, I understand how they saw it, I understand their anger. For that, I apologize," said Murphree.
Murphree said he understands the transgender community already faces enough problems and he was not trying to add to their list of concerns they face each day.
He said his words were aimed at people who might take advantage of new policies from stores like Target, which welcome guests to use the restroom that corresponds with their gender identity.
"What you're doing is you're raising the odds of these predators. You're giving them a window, you're giving them an opportunity," said Murphree.
Briggle said she appreciates the "late" explanation and hopes there is not a next time.
"We are just as normal and just as average and just as non-threatening as any other family out there," said Briggle.
LGBT rights group, Equality Texas condemned Murphree's comments. The two plan to meet on Tuesday to discuss how to best move forward.
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