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Protest Held in Support of Oklahoma Trans Student Facing Threats


After the middle school had to close due to a parent threatening to knife a transgender seventh-grader, the community is standing against hate.

Twenty people showed up outside an Achille, Okla., school in the rain on Tuesday for a silent protest in support of a 12-year-old transgender student who faced ridicule and threats from parents for using the girl's bathroom, reports Oklahoma TV stationKXII.

When the student, identified only as Maddie, couldn't find the faculty restroom at her middle school, she used the ladies' room, resulting in local resident Jamie Crenshaw posting in a Facebook group accusing "the transgender" of "looking over the stalls in the girls bathroom." The comments section exploded with users calling Maddie a "thing," "it," and "maggot."

"If he wants to be female, make him female," one even wrote. "A good sharp knife will do the trick."

In response, the school dismissed classes Monday and Tuesday.

A group of supportive residents showed up instead, wearing red in solidarity.

"There should be no child that should feel like they have to watch their back every day," T.J. Pierce told the station. He organized the march after hearing that commenters had declared "open hunting season" on transgender people.

"Today was a representation of every tear everyone has cried for being different," protester Darius Douglas commented on the rain. "Everyone was a supporter for keeping this child safe."

Protesters duct-taped their mouths to represent that they wanted to speak with actions rather than words.

"Everybody is different. You don't have to understand it or like it -- just get along," Douglas told KXII. "We're not gonna tolerate any threats."

Sheriff Johnny Christian told the local station that Bryan County is working with the FBI and other agencies to see if the comments qualify as a hate crime. He argued that the threats do not represent the community as a whole and that many of the Facebook group members were not even from the county.

"Our communities in Bryan County are amazing. They are quiet and take good care of our children. The schools are amazing," he said.

Police had set up a separate area for counterprotesters. None showed up.

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