The mother of a former Missouri high school student is suing the school board and three current and former district administrators, alleging discrimination against her transgender child.

Natalie Murray alleges in the lawsuit that the district denied her child the right to use the boys restroom and locker rooms at Joplin High School. She says her 16-year-old was born female but has lived as a male since the age of 12.

The Joplin Globe reports that the student was told to use the girls restroom, or to use gender-neutral bathrooms designated for faculty. The lawsuit says this embarrassed and humiliated the student.

School board president Sharrock Dermott said Tuesday that the district doesn't have a specific policy for accommodating transgender students but that its anti-bullying policy covers all students

Charleston police on Tuesday night arrested a man who they said attacked a transgender woman in the city’s bar and restaurant district, a crime that authorities classified as bias-motivated.

And on the same evening, members of the LGBTQ community told police that they too have feared for their safety and have been accosted on the city’s streets.

The Alliance For Full Acceptance, an advocacy group, partnered with the Charleston Police Department to host a town hall discussion to encourage people to voice their concerns after the Aug. 19 attack on Ann Street. 

A 34-year-old Goose Creek woman was leaving King Street bars around 2 a.m. when a man kicked her sister in the stomach near an elevator of the Charleston Visitor Center parking garage, police said. When the woman came to her sister’s aid, the attacker then punched her in the head, knocking her out. The man used slurs about the woman’s gender identity before punching her, investigators said.

The victim was hospitalized, but she is recovering.

Officers have arrested 30-year-old Christopher Lamar Price in connection with the attack. He faces a charge of second-degree assault and battery, according to jail records. Police initially denied that the attack was a potential hate crime but later corrected the statement while social media posts circulated.

On Tuesday, a diverse crowd filled a room at the Arthur W. Christopher Community Center and addressed a panel that included Police Chief Luther Reynolds, Deputy Chief Naomi Broughton, two officers and several LGBTQ advocates.

Reynolds brought up the “offensive” wording of a statement that his department initially issued about the Ann Street assault, which had said the victim “wasn’t assaulted because she’s a transgender.” The chief encouraged members of the crowd to speak their minds and said that “a level of humility” is necessary for the department to improve. 

“In my mind, there should be no space between us. Zero,” he said. “We should be in this together. I know that’s not where we’re at today, but that’s where we need to be.”

The agency plans to train patrol officers and investigators on how to treat LGBTQ victims, suspects and fellow employees. Part of that conversation will center around pronoun use and how to respond to transgender individuals.

One man in the crowd told the panel that Charleston officers have assumed he is a woman and called him the name he was assigned at birth, even after he had corrected them. 

“I hate hearing that my co-workers and fellow officers don’t call you by the right pronoun or the right name after you’ve repeatedly told them, or they’re condescending,” said Officer Jessica Hans, a member of the LGBTQ community who along with another officer spoke of the need for better education. “We are trying to change that, but we can’t do it without y’all.”

 

Vanity Reid Deterville, a 24-year-old College of Charleston student, pushed back against the Police Department for initially making a definitive statement that the Ann Street assault wasn’t bias-motivated as opposed to saying that aspect of the crime remained under investigation.

“It was like a slap in the face to me because I knew as a transgender woman that that was the exact reason she was attacked,” she said after the forum. 

Reid Deterville said she has endured catcalls and hostility on campus and downtown. She said she’s suffered two assaults, one of which she didn’t report to police out of fear of not being taken seriously by authorities. 

But on Tuesday, Reid Deterville said she walked away feeling heard by police after a conversation that she said “scratched a little deeper than surface level.”

“We still have a long way to go when it comes to eradicating this issue,” she said. 

The 12-year transgender girl who was bullied online by local parents says she’s trying hard not to be bothered by the negativity.

Maddison Kleeman Rose spoke to VICE News, her first on-camera interview since her story caught national attention. Said she does not understand the fuss around her using the girls’ restroom.

“I don’t care for it. I think it’s all stupid, except supporters. But the threats and that, is stupid. Who would do that to a 12-year-old?” she said.

“Heads up parents of 5th through 7th grade,” parent Jamie Crenshaw said in a now-deleted post. “The transgender is already using the girls bathroom. We have been told how the school has gone above and beyond to make sure he has his own restroom yet he is still using the girls. REALLY… Looks like its going to be a long year.”

Another parent weighed in and said a “sharp knife” could take care Maddie using the girls’ bathroom. Other parents said their children should beat up Maddie until she left school.

Maddie and her family had moved to Achille from Sherman, Texas, where they said Maddie was bullied during her transition. Maddie’s mother, Brandy Rose, told TIME that in Sherman students had forced her daughter into the boys’ bathroom and taunted her to commit suicide. The family moved to Achille in 2017 hoping for a more accepting environment for their daughter, but after the controversy the family has decided to move out of Achille for fear of Maddie’s safety.

Maddie said she would not allow the negativity of certain parents affect her.

“Some adults out there do get it but they don’t support it and thats their choice, they can be hateful and rude about it but they ain’t dragging me down.” she said.

“Everyone’s different, no one’s the same,” Maddie added. “We’re all different, unique and special in our own way.”

Maddie’s mother said she plans to move her family to Houston, Texas, where Maddie will have more support and is likely not to be the only transgender student in her school.

Bathrooms have long been a flashpoint in the fight for LGBTQ rights – and recently became a hot-button political issue as several states debated bills restricting transgender people from using the bathroom of their gender identity. Transgender teen Gavin Grimm’s battle to use the boy’s bathroom at his Virginia school gained national attention.

In January, an Oklahoma state lawmaker introduced a “bathroom bill” that critics said would have restricted the rights of transgender people to use the bathroom of their gender identity, but the bill never came up for a vote.

A woman hurled a brick through the double-pane window of an LGBTQ community center in Anacostia this week in an incident D.C. police are investigating as a suspected hate crime.

The attack left a hole in the facade of Check It Enterprises and a crack in the door. It also rattled those who work and gather inside — lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer youth who have grown to see the community center as a safe haven where they can escape violence and hate.

“Bad things happen to young people in this city,” said Ronald Moten, a youth mentor who has worked with Check It for about six years. “They’re always worried about their safety when they’re out there, but when they come here they feel safe. This is their safe haven.”

It’s an organization that exists on the fringes of two worlds: Washington’s LGBTQ community has been slow to embrace Check It, members, Moten said, because of “classist attitudes,” and neighborhoods where many of its members live still harbor homo­phobic attitudes that make them feel unsafe.

“D.C. still has a lot of violence and hate crimes directed at the LGBTQ community, and there’s a lot of work to be done,” Moten said. “Even within the gay community, there’s work to be done.”

Security cameras in and around the building captured footage of a woman throwing the brick. She targeted the front door at about 6:07 a.m. Tuesday, then moved to the front window.

After fracturing the first pane of glass, the footage shows, the woman threw the brick again and shattered the second pane.

The store was littered with shards of glass — Check It markets clothing — as Moten arrived that morning about 6:45 a.m. after receiving a call from a neighbor. Moten said the neighbor told him and other Check It volunteers that he heard the woman scream anti-gay slurs as she vandalized the storefront.

Police updated an initial report to indicate the crime may have been motivated by hate. “Suspected hate crime,” the police report says. “Anti-gay.”

The investigation continues.

Although members of the organization felt shaken by the attack, few were surprised that hatred may have found its way to Check It’s front door.

“It makes you remember where you’re at, reminds you not to get too comfortable,” Moten said. “We’ve had some of our kids attacked on Metro buses on their way here, but once they get inside this building, it’s been a safe haven.

“When things like this happen, it makes you think twice,” he said.

Check It Enterprises, on Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue in Southeast Washington, was founded by a group that had been members of the Check It street gang — a crew of teenagers in the Trinidad neighborhood of Northeast Washington who banded together for support and protection in the early 2000s.

Members of the group reformed to open Check It Enterprises, a community hub combined with the business that focuses on creating and marketing clothing.

Not wanting to drive up insurance premiums after the vandalism, the community center turned to the Internet to raise funds to fix the damage. It took Check It three days to surpass its goal of $2,500.

Most of the donations came from community members with ties to the organization, Moten said.

“This is the miracle of Check It — most of the supporters of Check It are not gay,” Moten said. “They’re members of our community who look at our kids as children who need support to change their life around. They don’t see the gay part.”

Several events this weekend will go on as planned, Moten said, despite the boarded-up “black eye” on the face of the store.

AB 2719 will help prioritize access to state-administered services and programs for LGBTQ Californians ages 60+.

California Gov. Jerry Brown has signed a new bill into law that will support the inclusion of LGBTQ seniors in state-administered programs and services for the elderly.

AB 2719, authored by Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin and co-sponsored by SAGE and Equality California, adds sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression to the definition of elderly communities that will receive priority for resources from California’s Department of Aging. The department helps seniors across the state find employment opportunities, receive healthcare and support, and find community among other elders.

Previously, the bill passed unanimously through both chambers of California’s state legislature earlier this year. 

Equality California cites estimates that about 10.9 million Californians will be over the age of 60 by 2030. Since LGBTQ people comprise at least 3.5% of general population in the U.S., some 380,000 LGBTQ seniors could be living in California by the 2030 mark.

“It’s incredibly important that we ensure LGBTQ older adults have access to the services and support they need to maintain their health and live their lives with dignity,” said Rick Zbur, executive director of Equality California, in a statement. “We’re deeply grateful to Gov. Brown for signing AB 2719 and to Assemblymember Irwin for being such a strong champion for our LGBTQ elders.”

California isn’t the only area of the country looking to ensure the wellbeing of LGBTQ seniors: Last September, SAGE, the New York Housing Authority, and HELP USA announced plans for LGBTQ-friendly senior housing in Brooklyn and the Bronx, expected to open in the fall of 2019. The two homes will be the largest queer-inclusive senior living communities of their kind in the country and could help house some of New York City’s 100,000 estimated LGBTQ elders.

Experts say fostering community among elders is especially important for aging LGBTQ people, whose quality of life is greatly improved by friendship and support.

 

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