It is not illegal to be Transgender, however it is legal in Tennessee to discriminate against people who are gender non-conforming. In Knoxville and Knox County apparently it is legal to commit domestic violence against Trans* partners and anti-Trash bashings by strangers are allowed if they do it as an extension of the allowed domestic violence.
Little over three years ago a man met a woman through a dating site. She seemed to be everything he ever dreamed of, he was all the things she thought she wanted. After online chatting for a week they met face-to-face, the dinner was good, the sex afterward was mind blowing, both hearts sang for each other as they parted for work that morning. Except the woman, a cisgender woman, did not yet know the man had completed gender transition decades before. When his transsexual history came out it became an issue for non-Trans people who were not in the relationship even while it was accepted within their relationship.
The hate crimes began fairly promptly. Her roommates slandered him based solely on his being FTM even though they did not know him, beginning the moment she told them that he had disclosed to her. They tried to stop her from dating him, even verbally and physically restraining her on more than one occasion when she was trying to leave for a date. His car was vandalized by both roommates while the couple slept in her bed. These haters had a private investigator run illegal background checks and license plate searches on his personal and company vehicles, even calling the company hotline several times to file false reckless driving reports without realizing the call in numbers were recorded and the vehicle's on-board GPS system confirmed the vehicle had been parked for hours each and every time. One of the roommates even had her private investigator friend file a false professional licensing violation report against the man, it resulted in the PI's license being suspended since his own so-called evidence actually proved both he and the roommate were intentionally lying. Every time the man's name was brought up or he was visiting his love, one of the roommates would make verbal threats of violence against him to the point that the enamored couple moved in together at another location far earlier than they should have so that she was no longer inflicted with the daily pain of her roommates' hate.
While her cisgender co-workers met and liked this outspoken man for the way he adored her, the woman was concerned that his trans-status would cause her to lose her job. Even people who worked with her but knew him years before were careful not to mention anything about his past for fear of professional repercussions. So he was forced into a deeper social "closet" to protect her, and he did it gladly out of love.
As with all relationships there were ups and downs, past influenced present, fears became an emotional cancer. Whenever the couple had an argument and she shared it with her friends the hateful ex-roommates would start up with the attacks again. No matter the situation, no matter who did what or even if it was about someone totally different, she knew that they would always stroke her like an injured child while vilifying him for anything and everything including non-existent things. These non-Trans people felt completely comfortable in blaming everything from cold dinner to another person's single vehicle accident on him being a Trans man. Over time she forgot what was true and what was just the constant spew of anti-Trans hate. The cancer of their hate became a deadly disease to their relationship.
After three years the disease killed, the cancer won, hate stole everything. The couple is no more, not because of any real issues between them but because of the horrible lies making every little disagreement into rumors of abuse to the point she gave up on reality. When she announced out of nowhere that she was leaving him it was a shock but he did not try to stop her, the fact she was now repeating their hateful lies instead of just dealing with facts injured him too much. The couple dissolved their relationship and all they had built together. Despite outside influences and hurt feelings they made amicable agreements on splitting property and expenses so that no further hurt was created. Except that was not good enough for the hatemongers, they wanted anger and violence to make sure all loving feelings were dead. Just two short weeks after the couple worked out their dissolution with caring hearts and mutual respect, the woman turned on him under the roommates' guiding demands. As he pleaded with her to stop letting them manipulate her they struck, this time with physical violence, as she stood by and watched without a word. And so his heart broke and love died finally. A month later he was physically attacked by three strangers, as instructed by the hateful once-again roommates. Twice injured in phobic attacks he was twice refused legal support by Knox County legal system, his being Trans somehow justified all the evils inflicted on him by these non-Trans outsiders who resided in Blount County. Worst yet, to him, she did not care that he was being beaten down in her name. He died inside with the realization that hate and bigotry was more powerful than love and for the first time in his life he wished to die for real.
Hopefully this story will have another chapter since that would mean he chose life. Meanwhile every other Trans* person in the Knoxville Metro stands in fear of it happening to them with the same results.