On 4th November, 2013, San Francisco High School student Sasha Fleischman was sleeping on a public bus on the way home from school, when their clothing was set on fire, in an vicious attack. Fleischman suffered 2nd and 3rd degree burns and had to spend over a month in a hospital.
His attacker was teen Richard Thomas, said he was ‘allegedly’ provoked by the sight of someone who looked like a boy wearing a skirt. Richards has since been charged as an adult with two felony counts and a hate crime enhancement.
Thomas this week pleaded no contest to charges of felony assault and inflicting great bodily injury – but as part of a plea deal, hate crime and aggravated mayhem charges against him were dropped.
He was controversially tried as an adult in the case, and is expected to be sentenced to up to 7 years behind bars as part of the deal, when he is convicted next month.
Researchers have discovered that those who live as neither male or female suffer the most from discrimination and violence in the LGBT community, their determination to remain undefinable seeming to provoke those with gender norms. However, for people like Fleischman, it is important to be who they are, even in the face of intolerance and personal risk.
“When I wear a skirt, it makes them think about gender and not jumping to conclusions.”