January 11, 2021 at 9:59 am EST | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Fake photo falsely shows D.C. trans woman in U.S. Capitol with rioters
Sissy Gracie, gay news, Washington Blade
A photographer shared an altered photo appearing to show Sissy Gracie in the Capitol last week. The image was a fake.

A local photographer says he regrets posting on Facebook last week a news media photo of a group of supporters of President Trump who forced their way into the U.S. Capitol that he altered by adding the image of a D.C. transgender woman who hangs out near Dupont Circle.

The altered photo makes it appear that the trans woman, who goes by the name Sissy Gracie, was part of the rioters who wreaked havoc as Congress attempted to certify the election of former Vice President Joe Biden as president and U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris as vice president.

“I meant no confusion in the matter,” said the photographer, who asked not to be identified. “I made it as an inside joke to distribute to a select few people privately,” he said. “People took it and ran with it and misrepresented it. I did my best to make sure people understood it is satire.”

It could not immediately be determined how widely the altered photo has circulated on Facebook.

Gracie is currently living in North Carolina, according to records filed in D.C. Superior Court, where she faces unrelated misdemeanor charges of unlawful entry, attempted threats, and simple assault in connection with three separate incidents on or near 17th Street, N.W. during the summer of 2020.

The photo, altered using Photoshop, makes it appear that Gracie is standing among about a half dozen of the rioters on a marble floor in one of the ornamental rooms in the Capitol building. The image of Gracie was taken from a photo she includes in her own Facebook page in which she is standing on her Segway motorized scooter in front of the White House.

The doctored photo of the rioters inside the Capitol shows her standing behind one of the widely recognized rioters – a bare chested man wearing a fur headdress with buffalo horns and carrying an American flag drapedover a spear.

On Saturday, federal prosecutors identified the man as Jacob Anthony Chansley, who also goes by the name Jake Angeli, of Arizona. He has been arrested on charges of trespassing on the Capitol grounds, entering the Capitol violently, and disorderly conduct.

Gracie couldn’t immediately be reached for comment. Court records show she is scheduled to appear for a status hearing in D.C. Superior Court on Feb. 16 for the assault case pending against her, but it could not be determined if the hearing would be held remotely due to COVID related restrictions.

An arrest affidavit filed in court states that the alleged victim in the assault told police Gracie ran over his foot with her scooter and struck him in the head after he told her to stop harassing people on the 1600 block of 17th Street, N.W. where D.C. police say the incident occurred on July 22, 2020.

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

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