Transgender Woman Subjected to Vicious Beating at Maryland McDonald’s

I received the following notification from Change.org and it is re-printed here in its entirety:

Hate crime at McDonald’s caught on video: Hold employees and assailants accountable

Sign the Petition

On Friday, Adrian Leigh Cowan of Baltimore started a petition on Change.org, speaking out in response to a shocking online video of a transgender woman being brutally beaten at a local McDonald’s.

As Adrian told our team of organizers, “I was moved to start this petition because when I first viewed the video, I was brought to tears. How anyone could stand by and allow this to happen is unfathomable to me.” More than 30,000 Change.org members had the same reaction, and joined Adrian in signing the petition.

If you haven’t watched the horrifying video of this hate crime, please click this link (WARNING: Video contains extremely graphic violence). Then add your name to Adrian’s petition calling on McDonald’s and Maryland authorities to hold those involved accountable.

If you would prefer not to watch the video posted by Adrian, you should know what it documents: A 22-year-old transgender woman is pulled out of a McDonald’s bathroom and viciously beaten by two customers. She is punched, knocked to the ground, dragged across the floor by her hair, and kicked in the face until she appears to experience a seizure.

Instead of coming to this woman’s assistance, one McDonald’s employee filmed the assault while others can be heard cheering the assailants on as they attack the victim. After the brutal incident, the video was posted to the Internet, where an employee bragged that the assault was OK because the victim “was a man dressed like a woman.”

Sadly, this attack is a reminder of the rampant harassment and discrimination that transgender people face every day. Nationwide, more than half of all transgender people experience verbal or physical abuse when trying to access public accommodations like restrooms. Brutal acts of violence are all too common — and authorities often fail to prosecute these crimes to the fullest extent of the law.

Not surprisingly, McDonald’s lacks standard policies for protecting transgender individuals, despite a decent record of workplace discrimination protections for gays and lesbians. And while the company has pledged to “take appropriate action” against all employees involved in this heinous event, just one has been punished.

Please join Adrian Leigh Cowan in demanding that McDonald’s and Maryland authorities hold accountable both the assailants in this beating and the employees who cheered it on — and to make sure that an attack like this never happens again:

http://www.change.org/petitions/demand-that-the-employees-on-duty-at-mcdonalds-be-held-responsible-in-the-beating-of-a-trans-woman

We can’t let this brutal hate crime in Maryland go unpunished. Thank you for taking action today.

- Eden and the Change.org team

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Disclaimer: The information, comments and links posted on the blog do not constitute legal advice. I will not respond to any specific legal questions in the comments section of this blog. Read my entire disclaimer.

copyright 2011 Irene C. Olszewski

Texas Man Upset Daughter was in Lesbian Relationship Kills Woman and her Mother

Homophobia is a frightening fact of life in the GLTB community.  It’s even more frightening when a man kills his daughter’s same-sex partner (and her mother) because he’s upset that his daughter is in a lesbian relationship.  That’s allegedly what occurred in Austin, Texas.

According to a post on Statesman.com, the gunman, Jose Alfonso Aviles, 45, was arrested on capital murder charges at approximately 4:30 this morning in San Antonio by the Lone Star Fugitive Task Force.  It remains to be seen whether or not the State will charge Aviles with a hate crime.

Read:   Witness: Gunman upset daughter was in relationship

A similar incident occurred in Florida last year when Jerry Lee Seger strangled his daughter’s lesbian partner. It is believed that part of his motive was their lesbian relationship.

Read:   Father Allegedly Kills Daughter’s Lesbian Lover, Abandons Body in Foreclosed Home

It’s important to educate the general public that lesbian and gay couples are the same as their heterosexual counterparts in every way.  Obliterating hate and bigotry is everyone’s responsibility.  It’s time to end the senseless violence.

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Disclaimer: The information, comments and links posted on the blog do not constitute legal advice. I will not respond to any specific legal questions in the comments section of this blog. Read my entire disclaimer.

copyright 2011 Irene C. Olszewski

Stop Gay Bullying NOW!

In the wake of the recent tragic deaths of multiple teens who ended their lives as the result of gay bullying, it seems the entire country is waking up to this horrible epidemic. It’s not that this is a new phenomenon. Hardly. The simple fact is that suicides by teens who have been bullied for being gay — or perceived as being gay — has increased at an alarming rate.

Whether you are gay or straight, you have a moral obligation to end this craziness. No person should be bullied to the point of suicide. That is unconscionable no matter what your beliefs. It’s time to stop gay bullying. Now.

Ellen DeGeneres is taking a strong stand against bullying in response to the recent suicides of teens who had been bullied or teased and she’s not alone.

Recent news items on the issue of gay bullying:

Coming Out Day Marked by More Gay Teen Suicides

Anderson Cooper Takes On Vince Vaughn Movie’s Use Of ‘So Gay’ (VIDEO) [Huffington Post]

NJ Senator Calls For Anti-Bully Law After Rutgers Suicide [Huffington Post]

Make It Better Project

It Gets Better Project

This was an interesting piece:

Gay Bullying Deaths and Religion: Are Believers the Problem or the Solution? [Politics Daily]

‘The View’: What Causes Gay Bullying?

The Torture of Anti-Gay Bullying

<a href=”“>LKL – Celebrities Speak Out On Gay Bullying – Pt. 1/4

In the wake of the recent teen suicides, a Mormon leader still saw fit to broadcast a strong anti-gay message in his sermon. Boyd K. Packer, the second-highest Mormon leader, said same-sex attraction is “impure and unnatural” and can be overcome, and that same-sex unions are morally wrong and “against God’s law and nature.”

This is plain scary, not to mention offensive:

Take action by signing the HRC’s open letter to Boyd K. Packer:

Mormon leader gives anti-gay sermon after suicides

 

 

Disclaimer:  The information, comments and links posted on the blog do not constitute legal advice.   I will not respond to any specific legal questions in the comments section of this blog. Read my entire disclaimer.

copyright 2010 Irene C. Olszewski

Pennies In Protest … Turn Hate Into Something Positive

The LGBT community certainly has battled its share of hate. Anti-gay groups will protest at anything from a gay wedding to the funeral of a gay person. Matthew Shepard’s funeral sadly comes to mind. I still shudder at the thought. Matthew Shepard was the young man from Wyoming who was beaten and hung on a fence to die … for being gay. I recall hearing a live newscast of the protest on the radio while driving to work. I was so enraged, I came close to hopping on a plane and flying out there myself just to spit on the Reverend Phelps and his merry little band of protesters. The whole thing sickens me to this day. The following is a documentary by Michael Moore:

Rather than allow the anti-gay protesters to win out, how about putting a positive spin on the whole thing and use it as a way to raise funds for LGBT causes?

It’s not my idea, although I wish it had been. A group of mothers in Richmond, Virginia got together and organized a website called Pennies In Protest. They got the idea from a friend in New York. It seems that when the hatemongers from Westboro Baptist Church protested at his synagogue (anti-Jewish in this case rather than anti-gay), the congregation was asked to pledge $1 for every minute the protesters remained. They raised $10,000 in one hour.

Rather than fight hate with more hate, why not take a lesson from the folks at Pennies In Protest and do the same in your community? The website offers some great instruction on how to organize such a worthy charitable event in your area.

[See also my post on the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act]

 

 

Disclaimer:  The information, comments and links posted on the blog do not constitute legal advice.   I will not respond to any specific legal questions in the comments section of this blog. Read my entire disclaimer.

copyright 2010 Irene C. Olszewski