Public Law

Public Law Journal: Summer 2014, Vol. 37, No. 3

The Next Frontier: Transgender Legal Rights


(Check end of this article for information on how to access 1.0 self-study credit.)

By Ilona M. Turner*

A 16-year-old transgender girl in Contra Costa County is repeatedly bullied at school for her feminine gender expression. She complains to school officials but the harassment continues, day after day, and she grows increasingly desperate. One day another student who is her primary tormentor spits gum in her face. Shortly thereafter, pushed over the edge and feeling completely out of options, she responds physically. Two other bullies jump in to assist the first one. The episode is caught on cell phone video, with three girls plainly attacking the transgender teen. When the situation draws the attention of the district attorney, however, criminal charges are filed only against the bullied student.

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