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Hundreds Rally in Md. for Trans Victim

Hundreds Rally in Md. for Trans Victim

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Some 300 people gathered in Maryland Monday evening for a vigil in response to the brutal beating of Chrissy Lee Polis captured on video at a McDonald's last week.

Reports from the scene in Rosedale in Baltimore County indicate that the crowd of activists and politicians expressed an upbeat and unified mood in the face of continuing violence against transgender people. The video of the beating filmed by a McDonald's employee, who has since been fired, went viral on YouTube and, in the words of Del. Joseline Pena-Melnyk to her legislative colleagues, brought "shame" to the state.

In the graphic video filmed April 18, two women can be seen attacking Polis while one patron and employee attempt to intervene and others observe and laugh. It is believed that the women, ages 18 and 14, attacked Polis, 22, when she tried to use the women's restroom at the restaurant.

Teonna Monae Brown faces first and second-degree assault charges. The identity of her younger accomplice, who was charged as a juvenile, has not been released. Prosecutors are looking into the possibility of hate-crime charges.

Polis, who received treatment at a hospital following the attack, did not attend the vigil, but her mother, Renee Carr, was on hand to express support for her daughter. The victim has called the attack a hate crime and said she will sue McDonald's and the employees who enabled the violence.

A bill that would have protected transgender Marylanders from discrimination in housing, employment, and credit, but not public accommodations such as restaurants and restrooms, died this year in the state senate after passing the house. Advocates said that the measure, although not fully inclusive, would have sent a strong message against antitransgender violence.

The vigil was organized by Trans-United, TransMaryland, Baltimore County for Equality, the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center of Baltimore, and others.

Read reports from the scene by the Washington Blade and Metro Weekly.

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