Current Affairs

Transgender veteran’s truck painted ‘Trump’ and set on fire

Dominic Preston November 8, 2016
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A transgender US Army veteran has been left shaken after her truck was set on fire in the middle of the night in a possible hate crime.

The truck was also spray-painted with the word ‘Trump’ as part of the attack, which took place in Cookeville, Tennessee.


The woman, identified only as ‘Elle’ because of the possible hate crime, was inside with her three-year-old son when the attack took place early Saturday morning.

She says that she heard a noise at around 3:30 a.m., and noticed that the door to her pick-up truck was open. Thinking she must have left it that way, she shut the door and went back inside.

About half an hour later, she heard a a car horn honk, and looked out to see the truck roaring with flames and vandalised with paint.

“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,” Elle told reporters.

“It just breaks my heart every time I walk past the driveway.”

Elle came out as transgender two years ago, and says that she hasn’t experienced any discrimination within Cookeville before – though outside the city it’s a different matter.

“I’ve been in altercations out of town because I’m transgendered,” she said. “The last altercation was when a man took a swing at me in a bathroom.”

A veteran, she served eight years in the US Army and toured in Iraq, before being medically retired in 2007 after suffering from a severe brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder.

While she’s a Hillary Clinton supporter, she says there were no Clinton signs on her lawn or windows.

It’s not yet clear why Elle was targeted, but she said the police told her they were investigating it as a possible transphobic hate crime.

“I’m just trying to live my life,” she said. “I wouldn’t hurt anyone.”

Earlier this year Tennessee almost introduced an anti-trans bathroom bill for its public schools, but its Republican proponent decided to shelve it for a year.

“I have learned that our school districts are largely following what the bill says,” Rep. Susan Lynn said, adding she would delay the bill “in an effort to further study the issue.”

The state’s Republican Governor Bill Haslam did however sign into law a bill that allows licensed counsellors to turn away LGBT patients.

The attack on Elle’s truck comes amid fears that if Trump loses today’s election, there might be further violence from his supporters.

Former Congressman Joe Walsh, a Republican from Illinois, tweeted last week: “On November 9th, if Trump loses, I’m grabbing my musket. You in?”

Related topics: Donald Trump, Hate crime, Tennessee, Transgender, transphobia, US, US Election 2016

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