April 27, 2011 | by Kevin Naff
An epiphany in Rosedale

Earlier this week, I attended the rally for Chrissy Lee Polis in a Rosedale, Md., McDonald’s parking lot along with about 300 others and was immediately struck by the upbeat vibe.

Polis, a transgender woman, was beaten inside the restaurant last week after attempting to use the women’s restroom; the incident captured national headlines after an employee recorded the beating rather than coming to Polis’s aid and posted the video to YouTube.

Polis’s mother described the rally as a “wonderful night.” Mary Washington, a lesbian member of the Maryland House of Delegates, said it was an “LGBT moment.” Indeed, something about that night felt transformative; it was as if the fight for transgender visibility and acceptance was coming together in Rosedale, of all places. We weren’t in the Castro or Dupont or Chelsea. We were standing in working class Baltimore County surrounded by locals who wanted to show the world that their neighborhood supports Chrissy and won’t tolerate violence against one of their own. They weren’t going to let that YouTube video forever define their community.

It’s unfortunate that members of the Maryland Senate who killed a transgender rights bill just a week before the attack couldn’t be bothered to show up. If they had, I’m confident they could never cast a vote against trans equality again. Let’s hope this tragedy brings momentum to finally add gender identity to the state’s non-discrimination laws.

Kevin Naff is the editor and a co-owner of the Washington Blade, the nation’s oldest and most acclaimed LGBT news publication, founded in 1969.

4 Comments
  • Thanks, Kevin :-)

  • Still disturbing. Is there a fund to assist Chrissy?

    Has this attack been covered by CNN? Let’s ask:

    http://www.cnn.com/feedback/forms/form11b.html?4

    The public must see the type of violence that Gay and Transgendered people face.

  • Caroline Temmermand

    We are collecting money for Chrissy and it can be sent to Trans-United or Equality Maryland, both in Baltimore, MD – just say it’s for Chrissy. Obviously anyone who sees the video wish they could do all they can to help her.

    As for CNN coverage, CNN interviewed me before the rally and they were there filming. I had not seen any film footage they aired from the rally but that just might be because I have been busy since the rally and haven’t even have time to see what, if anything, they may have aired.

    Inside Edition aired this… Even Glen Beck commented so we did get out how horrible this was. Locally we had radio, print, and lots of TV coverage. I do believe that we as a collective community have gotten the word out. And tomorrow the White House is meeting solely with members from our community including the amazing Mara Keisling from NCTE. This is historic!

  • This is historic. The amount of press coverage over this has been nothing short of remarkable. Sad that it takes this, but the reality is that it takes exactly this.

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