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Jacob Blake’s trans cousin spoke out after his relative was shot seven times. In return, he got transphobic death threats

Reiss Smith September 2, 2020
Jacob Blake and his cousin Elliot Chafetz

Jacob Blake's cousin Elliot Chafetz was misgendered and sent death threats after speking at a rally. (Facebook/KOMO)

Jacob Blake’s cousin Elliot Chafetz spoke at a rally about the culture of fear Black people are forced to live under due to racism and police brutality, but the only words hateful bigots heard were: “I am a trans male.”

Chafetz joined his mother outside of Seattle City Hall to speak out after the horrific shooting of his cousin, who he said he has never met.

Blake, a Black man, was paralysed after a white police officer, Rusten Sheskey, shot him in the back seven times as his children watched on in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The shooting came amid a summer already defined by Black Lives Matter demonstrations and sparked yet more protests, calling for an end to systemic racism and the terrorising of Black communities by police.

Speaking Thursday (August 27), Chafetz introduced himself as “a trans male living in the world today”, and spoke of how “very scared” he had felt about attending his first rally.

“I’ve heard stories of kids my age not coming back,” he said.

Addressing the violence that has marred protests in Kenosha, resulting in the tragic deaths of two people and the injuries of a third, Chafetz added: “Fear causes us to do scary things. Fear makes us throw bricks, hurt people, but that is not the answer. If you are scared, know that courage is the reason you will persist.”

Jacob Blake’s cousin sent transphobic abuse.

Though his stirring words were met with applause from the crowd that had assembled, a livestream of the rally was tainted by transphobic comments and even death threats.

Addressing the hate he received, Chafetz told journalist Renee Raketty: “My instinct when I saw these comments was not doubt for myself, but doubt for the nation.

“Because I really don’t know how I’m gonna educate these people, how I can tell them this is what a trans man is over the internet. Because there’s no way that I can educate them that to them would not sound like me enforcing my agenda.”

They’re on the wrong side of history.

He continued: “I know for a fact that these people are going to keep saying what they’re going to say. But they’re on the wrong side of history.

“We have a message that we’re going to spread regardless of the hate that we’re going to get. We know that they’re going to spread hate. And personally, you can think whatever you like about me. Don’t talk bad about my cousin.”

Chafetz said that other LGBT+ folk who feel afraid of attending physical protests should use their social media presences to “spread the message that Black lives do matter. That Jacob Blake was shot seven times in the back and he deserves a voice.”

More: black lives matter, Jacob Blake

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