Chrissy Lee Polis, the 22-year-old transgender woman who was beaten in a Baltimore County McDonald’s last spring, continues to be haunted by the event. According to an article in the Baltimore Sun, Polis remains troubled by the incident that took place on April 18, 2011. The attack was caught on video that went viral.
She became the unwitting face of the battle for equal rights based on gender identity. “Suddenly, she’s catapulted and she’s an icon,” Dana Beyer, executive director of Gender Rights Maryland, told the Sun. “Chrissy had no clue; she’s had no training, no experience and suddenly this fame came pouring down on her and she had no idea what to do with it.”
Although she was offered help from people around the country, Polis feels she was being exploited and could only rely on a few friends. “Everybody’s not out for your best interest,” Polis said.
Since the attack, legislation that provides legal protections based on gender identity passed in Baltimore and Howard counties but a statewide bill died in the Maryland Senate. Sharon Brackett, board chair of Gender Rights Maryland said the media overstated Polis’ role in the passage of this legislation.
Yet Polis’ attorney Mark Scurti told the Sun, “A lot of groups wanted to highlight the abuse that has impacted the trans community. Without the human stories, it’s very difficult for a legislator or a Council person to pass laws to protect a group of folks.”
Brackett provided financial assistance and advice to Polis but the friendship later ended when Polis believed Brackett was trying to run her life.
“She doesn’t have a hard life because she’s trans,” Brackett said. “She has a hard life because she has a hard life. And being trans makes it harder.”