Chrissy Lee Polis, a trans woman who was attacked by two girls in the ladies’ room of the Rosedale Branch of McDonald’s in Baltimore last week, has spoken out about her ordeal.
Ms Polis, 22, said she heard her assailants saying “That’s a dude, that’s a dude – and he’s in the female bathroom.”
“They spat in my face,” said Ms Polis.
A worker at the restaurant taped the attack but did not intervene. The video quickly went viral, although YouTube removed it from their site saying they did not condone hate crime.
After the video received hundreds of thousands of hits on websites, McDonald’s issued a statement saying they condemned the incident, and on Saturday the worker who recorded it was fired.
The video shows two females – one aged only 14 – repeatedly kicking and punching Ms Polis in the head as an employee and a patron try to intervene. Others voices can be heard, as well as laughter, and men are seen standing by, offering no help.
Toward the end of the video, one of the suspects is seen to land a punishing blow to Ms Polis head, and she appears to have a seizure. A man’s voice tells the two females to run because police are coming.
Police said the 14-year-old girl has been charged as a juvenile, while charges were pending against an 18-year-old woman.
Ms Polis, who says she has suffered beatings and sexual assault before because of her gender status, suffered cuts to her mouth and face, and said she had a seizure. She also acknowledged that she was intoxicated at the time of the assault.
Speaking to the Baltimore Sun, Ms Polis said: “Seeing myself all over the Internet and all over the news has been like walking out of the closet all over again.”
She added that she was concerned the public attention could trigger more violence – and potentially hurt her chances of getting a job. “I want to cry, but I need to hold my head up,” she said.
Trans journalist and activist Jane Fae said to PinkNews.co.uk: “Something has changed. Talking to trans men and women across the world, there is a sense that things are not the same: that Rosedale may be our very own “Stonewall Moment”.
“The trans community is fed up with waiting in line: on the one hand being denied basic human rights to public facilities by religious fundamentalists who have caricatured the issue as one of ‘men’ in women’s toilets; on the other, seeing those rights, which can be counted in terms of abuse and violence and worse, being horse-traded against the somewhat less pressing matter of gay marriage.
“Something has changed. As far as we are concerned, enough is enough.”
On Monday night, hundreds of supporters of the transgender community turned out for a rally in front of the McDonald’s. Candles were lit for Polis and other victims of anti-trans violence.