The video of a transgender woman being beaten in a Baltimore area McDonald’s that went viral last week is horrific and difficult to watch. It shows two teenage girls violently attacking 22-year-old Chrissy Lee Polis -- allegedly for using the women's bathroom -- until she begins to seize.
Both attackers are facing assault charges (and possibly hate crime charges), and the McDonald's employee who shot the video has been fired. But they weren't the only accomplices to this horrific crime. Let's take a look at some of the others who are still at large ...
Of course, the two teenagers who attacked Polis are the main perpetrators, as is Vernon Hackett, the McDonald's employee who filmed the attack and posted it to the Internet (along with some pretty offensive tweets). But there are also the other McDonald's employees -- and potentially other bystanders -- in the video to consider: Instead of helping Polis and trying to stop the attack, all except for one stand idly by and laugh! Even more disturbing is the man who tells the attackers to run away before the police get there. Surely, these folks share in some of the blame.
While we're pointing fingers, we can't for one second let the media off the hook. After the video went viral, news outlets identified Polis and published her personal information, which made the situation that much more stressful and traumatic for her. As The Baltimore Sun reports:
[Polis] said seeing herself all over the Internet and all over the news has been "like walking out of the closet all over again." Polis is concerned that the public attention could trigger more violence -- and worries it could hurt her chances of getting a job.
She's been afraid to go out in public ever since for fear of sustaining more violence.
Finally, the way society treats transgender men and women also needs to be scrutinized: Last week the Maryland Senate killed the Gender Identity Non-Discrimination Bill, which would have offered protections to transgender Maryland residents in housing, employment, and banking. It's true the bill wouldn't have provided additional charges against the attackers in this particular case, but it would have made it clear that transgender people deserve protection under the law. Sadly, its failure to pass sends quite the opposite message. Yet, we act surprised when confronted with senseless violence against transgender people such as this ...
Image via Juan Pedro Diaz/Flickr