Tag Archives: hate crime

Notes on Shoe Shine Boxes: Another Essex Hemphill poem

A young woman wearing pink high-heels at Helsi...

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HOMOCIDE: For Ronald Gibson by Essex Hemphill

Ronald Gibson, 20, was found shot to death in the 2700 block of Arizona Avenue, N.W. Police said Gibson was wearing a dress and high-heeled shoes at the time of his death. According to Homicide Det. Lloyd Davis, Gibson, also known as “Star,” hung out during the past two years in the area near 14th and Fairmont Sts., N.W., an area frequented by drag queens who solicit sex for money. Detectives say they have no suspects and know of no motives in the case.
 The Washington Blade, 1/8/82

The poemHOMOCIDE: For Ronald Gibson by Essex Hemphill

Grief is not apparel.
Not like a dress, a wig
or my sister’s high-heeled shoes.
It is darker than the man I love
who in my fantasies comes for me
in a silver, six-cylinder chariot.
I walk the waterfront/curbsides
in my sister’s high-heeled shoes.
Dreaming of him, his name
still unknown to my tongue.
While I wait for my prince to come,
from every other man I demand pay
for my kisses. I buy paint
for my lips. Stockings for my legs.
My own high-heeled slippers
and dresses that become me.
When he comes,
I know I must be beautiful.
I will know how to love his body.
Standing out here on the waterfront/curbsides

I have learned to please a man.
He will bring me flowers.
He will bring me silk
and jewels, I know.
While I wait,
I’m the only man who loves me.
They call me “Star”
because I listen to
dreams and wishes.
But grief is darker.
It is a white dress
that covers my body.
It is a wig
that does not rest gently
on my head.


Published in Blacklight Vol. 4, No. 4

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Update on Transgendered McDonald’s Attack in Baltimore

Teonna Monae Brown Mugshot

Teonna Monae Brown, the 18 year-old charged in beating Chrissy Lee Polis at the McDonalds in Baltimore because Polis is transgendered was arrested last year for assaulting a woman in the same restaurant. Brown was charged with “two assault counts for attacking Danielle Dower, 38, last July.” However the charges against Brown were dropped at Dower’s request.

The Smoking Gun found Dower’s handwritten police statement.

“Dower said that she had left the McDonald’s with her two daughters when Brown confronted her, asking “Did you call me ugly?” Though Dower said she had not, Brown “kept trying to badger us.” At one point, Dower said, the teenager “pushed me in the back.” After Dower pushed back, Brown “took her fist and threw a punch to my face.” ”

As the pair scuffled, Dower said, Brown hit her in the back with an umbrella and “pulled my wig off my head.”

Saying that, “I wanted to get my kids to safety,” Dower went with her children to a nearby shopping center. Brown and her friends, Dower added, followed behind.

As Dower called 911, two females grabbed her daughter by the hair and dragged the teenage girl across the floor. “I had to stop talking to the operator, get on top of my daughter and protect her while trying to fight off those girls,” Dower stated.

The fight, she added, left her with “a few cuts to my face” and “my head was hurt from the hair pulling and my leg got hurt. My oldest daughter head was hurting from the girls dragging her across the floor. She suffered cuts to her knee and one to her face, bumps to her forhead and behind her ear.”

Brown and a female cohort were identified by a cop “from prior contacts from prior incidents,” according to a Baltimore County Police Department report. The pair–and a third suspect, a juvenile–initially denied “any involvement in an assault until after they were identified by the victim.” An arrest report described Brown as a high school student at The Arrow Project of Maryland, and listed her sole tattoo as “chocolate covered cherries.”

Police said Brown was charged with one count of first-degree assault and two counts of misdemeanor second-degree assault. The 14 year-old who also attacked Polis and was also arrested will be charged as a juvenile.

Poli’s grandmother Edna Stebbings was interviewed by WBALTV 11 News in Baltimore. “I was really upset to see this, because [she] has taken a couple of beatings since [she has] been out there,” Stebbings said.

Poli’s twin brother, Matty Polis, who also lives in Baltimore, said it’s been painful to watch his sister endure these sorts of attacks. “My sister has gotten this her entire life,” Matty Polis said. “Being the way she is, she’s always had a hard time.”

Polis suffers from epilepsy which triggered her having a seizure during the attack. According to Webmd “epilepsy is a group of related disorders characterized by a tendency for recurrent seizures.”

In the YouTube video below Polis talks about being transgendered in the DMV (D.C., Maryland, and Virginia) area and her personal experiences as a transgendered woman.

Polis Talks About Being Transgendered

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McDonalds Violence in Baltimore: The Bigger Monster – Ignorance

A vicious attack videoed titled “Two Black Girls JUMP A Becky Inside McDonalds . . . They Beat Her SO BAD . .. She Had A SEIZURE!!” posted by Mediatakeout last week shows how hatred can be cancer-like spreading out of control in what seems like seconds.

The cell phone video painfully unbearable to watch doesn’t provide a backstory. What you see is Chrissy Lee Polis, 22, punched and kicked and dragged on the floor. The backstory. Chrissy Lee Polis, a transgendered woman, rushed in the Baltimore County, Maryland restaurant to use the bathroom.

“A guy approached me and asked me how I was doing,” Chrissy said in a video interview posted on the Baltimore Sun website. “I said not now. I went to use the bathroom. I come back out and the girl spit in my face and she approached me and said are you trying to talk to my man. I said no.”

One of the attackers drags Chrissy across the floor to the front entrance as the other attacker kicks her. An elderly customer tries to stop it but is pushed away.

While the attack happened McDonalds employees stood back and watched. The attack goes on for about three minutes. At the end of the video Chrissy goes into a seizure and spits blood all over the entrance to the restaurant. Vernon Hackett, the cameraman, a McDonalds employee yells, “She havin a seizure yo” and tells the attackers to “get out of here” because the police are coming. Saying this stops the attack. In the video Vernon and other employees can be heard laughing.

“I knew they were taping me; I told the guy to stop,” Chrissy said.

According to the Smoking Gun the cameraman posted the video on YouTube “with comments that appear to blame the victim for being transgender and trying to use the restroom. The employee further accused the transgender woman of faking her seizure.” From YouTube the attack video went viral and ended up on WorldStarHipHop, Mediatakeout’s partner site. The video violated YouTube’s posting policy and was deleted. Vernon took credit for posting the video on his Facebook Page, which is no longer active.

Chrissy’s gender identitywas known to the attackers. The attack appears to be a hate crime. “But Baltimore County prosecutors will consider this week whether to prosecute the attack as a hate crime, which carries stiffer penalties than an assault charge,” authorities said.

The attackers are 14 and 18. The 14 year-old has been charged as a juvenile in the beating, while charges are still pending against the 18 year-old. Authorities declined to release their names.

In a press release McDonald’s wrote “There’s no room for violence under the Golden Arches. We strongly condemn the videotaped assault in one of our Baltimore franchised restaurants” and the company fired the 22 year-old cameraman. McDonald went on to say “appropriate action regarding other employees will take place as warranted.”

Change.org created a petition for McDonalds to “include gender identity/expression in their non-discrimination policies” to protect transgendered employees and customers.

Last February, Tyra a transgendered woman born Anthony Trent was found asphyxiated in a vacant city-owned home in Baltimore.

Sadly for Chrissy Lee Polis the McDonalds incident is not the first time she’s been assaulted.

“I want to cry, but I need to hold my head up,” she said, adding that she’s been beaten and sexually assaulted in the past because of her sexual identity.

On Monday, April 25, local residents plan to hold a candlelight vigil outside the restaurant where the attack took place.

Interesting enough, in Maryland where the attack happened HB 235 or “the bathroom bill” was being voted on. HB 235 “prohibited discrimination based on gender identity with regard to housing and employment and by specified licensed or regulated persons; altering an exception for employers relating to standards concerning dress and grooming; providing specified immunity; requiring State personnel actions to be made without regard to gender identity or sexual orientation; defining the term “gender identity”; etc.”

According to the blog Right Coast if passed the bill would’ve allowed “adult males (dressed as females and vice versa) will be allowed to use the ladies room – thus putting small children and females at serious risk of being abused, molested or worse.”

Sponsored by over twenty-five politicians HB 235 was first read to the House in January and the Senate in March. On April 6th the bill was recommitted back to the committee on the Senate Floor. Translation it’s dead.

The bill affected the following Statutes:
State Government
( 20-101, 20-101, 20-101, 20-401, 20-402, 20-602, 20-603, 20-604, 20-605, 20-606, 20-608, 20-702, 20-704, 20-705, 20-707, 20-707, 20-1103)

State Personnel and Pensions
( 2-302)

What’s the bigger issue or monster at hand? Ignorance. People do not understand what they do not know. Large-scale education and guerilla-style protest/advertising is what the LGBT community needs to prevent more attacks like this.

Check out popular Baltimore YouTuber, transwoman, and Baltimore native AEONfarr’s commentary below:

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