Violence At A Baltimore McDonalds Shows A "Bathroom Bill" Meme Can Have More Than One Meaning
Rosedale, Maryland State Sen. Katherine A. Klausmeier is the senator for the district where this apparent beating hate crime took place. She was one of the six State Senators that was expected to vote for HB 235 on the Senate Floor, but instead voted to recommit the bill back to committee.
There’s a video associated with a violent bathroom related incident at a McDonalds in Baltimore County. The violent attack appears to be a hate crime; it appears specifically to be antitransgender hate crime. It certainly argues for a “bathroom bill” of a different meme than the religious rights’ “bathroom bill” meme.
The source for the video is WBAL-TV, and the article headline for the video is Girl, 14, Faces Charges In Videotaped Beating. From the article:
Police said a 14-year-old girl has been charged as a juvenile in the beating, while charges are still pending against an 18-year-old woman. The woman declined to be interviewed, according to 11 News reporter Sheldon Dutes.
Meanwhile, the restaurant has dismissed an employee who taped the incident.
…When Baltimore County officers arrived, they found a 22-year-old woman who appeared to be having a seizure. Witnesses told police that the victim had been assaulted by two teens. Equality Maryland later identified the victim as a transgendered woman and urged officials to investigate the attack as a hate crime.
From MetroWeekly‘s Community Outraged by Disturbing Video of Apparent Anti-Trans Assault:
A video that has garnered attention within the LGBT community appears to show a Baltimore County transgender woman being assaulted physically by two patrons of McDonalds on Monday, April 18, as employees from the restaurant stood by, one of them recording the incident on a portable phone.
The Bilerico Project reported on the video today, which shows the woman battered after being kicked, punched and dragged on the floor. The video of the incident was posted by the McDonald’s employee on a web site called “World Star hip Hop.com.”
From the Equality Maryland press release, entitled Equality Maryland: Bigotry And Discrimination Against Transgender Individuals Must End:
EQUALITY MARYLAND: BIGOTRY AND DISCRIMINATION AGAINST TRANSGENDER INDIVIDUALS MUST END
Equality Maryland pushes Attorney General Gansler to proceed with investigation as a hate crime
Baltimore, Maryland, April 22, 2011 – Earlier today, Equality Maryland learned of the beating of a transgender woman in Baltimore County. The following is a statement released by Board President Chuck Butler:
Equality Maryland’s Board President, Chuck Butler
“A member of our community was recently the victim of senseless violence. Equality Maryland is saddened that in this day and age, bigotry and discrimination against transgender individuals continue, especially in our own backyard.
No person ever deserves to be a victim of violence regardless of their gender identity or presentation. We encourage the State’s Attorney General to investigate this as a gate crime based on gender identity. We are encouraged that McDonald’s is working with local police to investigate this incident, and hope that the company will follow-up with appropriate disciplinary action against any employees involved.
We remain committed to advancing gender identity protections for the entire state of Maryland and will continue to work with local organizations and legislators to advance these protections.
Equality Maryland, with the Transgender Education Project will work to empower the transgender community as the educational voice of their community and develop trainings and support programs in coalition with state and national transgender organizations on a broad range of topics that include support and resource information for transgender Marylanders. The project will continue to hold educational forums for the population at large.”
[More below the fold.]Bilerico and WBAL-TV have reported that the McDonalds the attack occurred at is in Rosedale, Maryland — which is in Baltimore County.
The victim of the crime has now has responded publicly spoke about the attack in the Baltimore Sun‘s Victim of McDonald’s beating speaks out:
A transgender woman brutally beaten at a Baltimore County McDonald’s spoke out on Saturday, saying that the attack was “definitely a hate crime” and that she’s been afraid to leave the house ever since.
“They said, ‘That’s a dude, that’s a dude and she’s in the female bathroom,'” said Chrissy Lee Polis, who’s 22 and said she stopped at the Rosedale restaurant to use the restroom. “They spit in my face.”
“I knew they were taping me, I told the guy to stop,” said Polis, a slight woman with streaked hair. “They didn’t help me. They didn’t do nothing for me.”
According to the Baltimore Sun article, the employee that filmed the beating has been fired.
McDonalds has a press release on this, entitled Our Concern Regarding the Baltimore Incident:
There’s no room for violence under the Golden Arches. We strongly condemn the videotaped assault in one of our Baltimore franchised restaurants. Working with the authorities, we now have more facts, and we want to share our actions with you.
First and foremost, our thoughts are with the victim during this time.
Our franchisee is investigating the behavior and response of his employees. Action has been taken, and the crew member who made the video is no longer employed by his organization. Appropriate action regarding other employees will take place as warranted.
We want to reassure our customers that your neighborhood McDonald’s is a safe, welcoming place for everyone. We share our customers’ concern. We are doing everything possible to make sure the right thing is done.
The problem is that this isn’t the first assault of a trans person at a McDonalds. Does anyone remember the story of Christina Sforza?
On 10 July 2006, Ms. Sforza, a bi-racial transgender woman, and two friends were at a McDonald’s restaurant located at 341 Fifth Avenue. After eating, Ms. Sforza, a diabetic, went to the bathroom to give herself an insulin injection. The men’s toilet was out of order so a McDonald’s employee told her to use the women’s toilet. Ms. Sforza reports that she had been in the toilet for not more than a minute or two when she heard banging on the door and someone yelling outside, “I’m going to kill you, faggot. I’m going to kill you.”
According to Ms. Sforza, as soon as she opened the door, an African American man in a blue McDonald’s shirt, whom Ms. Sforza believes to be the manager, hit her across the head with a lead pipe and kept hitting her in the head, torso and groin, and on her arms when she tried to protect her head and face. When Ms. Sforza managed to get hold of the pipe, the man allegedly began choking her, saying, “I’m going to kill you, you fucking fag, I don’t want any fags in here.” Ms. Sforza tells AI that a crowd of McDonald’s staff and customers were cheering, yelling “kill the fag,” and egging the attacker on. At this point, one of Ms. Sforza’s friends called the police.
Ms. Sforza states that when the police came they would only speak to her alleged assailant who told the officers that Ms. Sforza had attacked him. When the Emergency Medical Services arrived at the scene the police allegedly refused to let them examine her swollen face and arm. Ms. Sforza was arrested, her injured arm forced behind her and placed in handcuffs. She reports banging her head against the roof of the police car several times as the officers pushed her and kicked her legs into the car to close the door.
Or of other McDonalds incidents, including the Florida McDonalds that refused to give an interview to Zikerria Bellamy because she was transgender? The McDonalds manager in that case stated:
“You went to (indistinguishable) McDonalds today. It doesn’t matter how many times you go down there: You will not get hired. We do not hire faggots.
“You lied to me. You told me you was a woman. And then you lied to me. You told me you were seventeen. I can’t believe you. You’re a lying brother (indistinguishable). How could you ever lie to me? We will never…”
Change.org already has a petition up about what McDonalds is calling an “incident”, entitled Demand that the employees on duty at McDonald’s be held responsible in the beating of a trans woman The petition already has thousands of signatures.
The “bathroom bill” meme goes like this: Transgender people are all potential bathroom predators of women and children in public women’s restrooms. This is because transgender women are, in those giving voice to the meme, “men in dresses.”
A clear description of the “bathroom bill” branding of all legislation that provides employment, housing, and public accommodation protections for transgender people can be found within the Massachusetts Family Association’s Bathroom Bill (emphasis added):
But [Massachusetts Public Accommodation Bill], the Bathroom Bill, impacts all places of public accommodation. Designed to help gender-confused individuals, [the bill] would add the vague category of “gender identity or expression” to the state ban on discrimination. Among the negative consequences of this law are: a) school children would be taught that they can change their gender if they want and b) women and children would be put at risk since access to sensitive areas such as single-sex bathrooms, locker rooms, and c) women-only fitness facilities would be open to anyone, regardless of biological sex, and d) anyone speaking out against it could be charged with a “hate crime.”
This bathroom beating of a transgender woman occurred in Maryland. This is the same state where HB 235 – the gender identity bill that was early in the process stripped in the House of Delegates of public accommodation protections failed to pass through the Senate. There were six Maryland State Senators that voted differently than expected on HB 235 (emphasis added):
Senators Kasemeyer (D-12), Klausmeier (D-8), McFadden (D-45), Middleton (D-28), Robey (D-13) and Zirkin (D-11) were expected to support ending discrimination based on gender identity in housing, employment, and credit, but voted instead to recommit the anti-discrimination bill.
The State Senator that represents Rosedale, Maryland — where this Maryland beating of a transgender woman took place — is Katherine A. Klausmeier. She was one of the State Senators That was expected to vote for HB 235 on the Senate Floor, but instead voted to recommit the bill back to committee. She had previously stated about HB235, when the bill was sent to the Rules Committee — a committee to which she belongs:
“It’s all up to the [the Maryland State Senate President, Mike Miller,” said Sen. Kathy Klausmeier, the Baltimore County Democrat who chairs Rules.
I personally believe [HB 235] is anti-family, uh, so I’m going to vote against it.
…The problem is this: I have senators that are not going to hire, uh, people with male sexual organs who wear a dress to serve as receptionists, okay? Umm, and so if they’re not going to do it, so if the senators and house members themselves wouldn’t hire someone in that category, how can we say to constituents that you’ve got to do this?
I wonder if those who are against employment, housing, and public accommodation protections for transgender people will now say that the beating of Crissy Lee Polis woman in a McDonalds bathroom would be “pro-family.” Probably not — I can’t imagine that Ruth Jacobs and her organization Citizens For Responsible Government will own the violence related to their incendiary version of the “bathroom bill” meme.
Sen. Rich Madaleno has promised to, next legislative session, to “pre-file a new version of the Gender Identity Antidiscrimination Act that includes provisions for housing and employment, as well as public accommodations in the hope it can receive a full debate and vote in the Senate before the last day of the session.” I’d suggest renaming the bill “The Crissy Lee Polis Civil Rights Act.”
Sen. Klausmeier needs to become a co-sponsor of Sen. Madaleno’s upcoming bill, and do whatever it takes to get the bill through the Maryland State Senate in support of the transgender victim of this apparent hate crime. Sen. Miller needs to let the bill through the Maryland State Senate, and vote for the bill himself on the Senate floor.
There should be a new kind of bathroom bill” meme in place in Maryland, and across the United States, and what happened to Crissy Lee Polis should be at the center of it.
Per CBS Baltimore:
Outreach groups for the transgendered community are planning a rally in front of the Rosedale McDonald’s for Monday night at 7 p.m., hoping to send the message that what happened inside is unacceptable.
The address to the McDonalds in Rosedale is as follows:
6315 Kenwood Avenue
Rosedale MD 21237