- Associated Press - Friday, May 20, 2016

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Nashville Mayor Megan Barry appointed a transgender woman to the Metro Human Relations Commission - an apparent first for Tennessee.

The Nashville’s Metro Council on Tuesday confirmed all 20 of Barry’s board nominations, including voting unanimously to appoint Dr. Marisa Richmond to the Metro Human Relations Commission, media outlets reported.

According to the Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition, Richmond is the first transgender person in the state’s history to be named to a local government board or commission.

Richmond is a Nashville resident, a professor in the history department at Middle Tennessee State University and former president of the Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition.

“Marisa Richmond is a dedicated community leader who is a champion for equality and has been at the forefront of the discussion over transgender rights in Nashville and Tennessee,” Barry, a Democrat, said in a statement. “She will be a strong voice on the Metro Human Relations Commission for making sure Nashville remains a warm and welcoming city for all.”

The 17-member commission oversees the human relations department, which is tasked with resolving discrimination complaints and carrying out educational programs in a number of areas.

“I was thrilled and I was honored,” Richmond said of the distinction. “I think it’s the right step in the right direction for Nashville. Especially in contrast to what the state is doing - Nashville and the rest of the country is moving forward even as the state is refusing to. I think it’s a real positive development for Nashville.”


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