California transgender teen in trouble for fighting back against bullies

By David Ferguson
Friday, January 10, 2014 9:44 EDT
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Public defender Kaylie Simon
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A 16-year-old transgender girl in East Bay, California is facing criminal charges after she physically defended herself from a group of girls who were bullying her. According to KTVU Channel 2, Hercules High School sophomore Jewelyes Gutierrez was involved in a fight with three other girls on Nov. 15, a confrontation that was caught on cell phone video.

Gutierrez’s public defender, Kaylie Simon, told Channel 2, “Jewelyes identifies as transgender, and I think that she had been tormented and harassed at school because of how she identifies.”

The teenager had sought help from school administrators, but in the end was left to her own devices when facing anti-trans bullying. Finally, in November, Jewelyes had taken all she could stand, and lashed out at her tormentors. Now she is facing charges of misdemeanor battery.

“When I initially received this case, I was shocked that the district attorney’s office decided to charge Jewelyes,” said Simon.

None of the other girls were charged in the incident.

“I think by charging her, it sends a message to bullies that you can bully individuals, and that adults will then further victimize the person that you’ve been tormenting,” Simon concluded.

Watch video about this story, embedded below via Channel 2 News:

David Ferguson
David Ferguson
David Ferguson is an editor at Raw Story. He was previously writer and radio producer in Athens, Georgia, hosting two shows for Georgia Public Broadcasting and blogging at Firedoglake.com and elsewhere. He is currently working on a book.
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