Friday, June 29, 2007

Teens Indicted in Hate Crime Attack

The three 19 year-olds charged in the hate crime attack of Jenine Nickola in Lowell on June 2 were indicted today by a Middlesex Grand Jury. The men are being charged with violation of constitutional rights, assault and battery for purpose of intimidation due to sexual orientation, and assault and battery.

Both the Lowell Sun and the Boston Globe use the wrong pronouns in reporting the story.
"According to police, James Nickola of Lowell was walking alone to his [home] from a nightclub in downtown Lowell when he heard someone behind him call him "faggot." Nickola, who considers himself a transsexual, quickened his pace when his attackers caught up with him."
The attackers are being charged with a hate crime because they believed Jenine Nickola was a gay man. The Boston Globe reported that "the men allegedly used epithets about the man's [sic] sexual orientation prior to and during the beating and told the victim, 'We don't like your kind in our neighborhood.'"

The Massachusetts hate crime laws do not protect transgender people. If the attackers had used epithets about Jenine's gender identity or her gender expression they may not have been charged with a hate crime. This is
blatant discrimination that needs to be corrected.

This year, Representative Carl Sciortino and Representative Byron Rushing introduced House Bill 1722, "An Act Relative to Gender-Based Discrimination and Hate Crimes". We need to make this bill our community's top priority. Go to the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition for more information.

UPDATE: Local LGBT newspapers are split
in reporting the story, disappointing the community they are supposed to serve. In Newsweekly gets it wrong, refers to Jenine as a man. However, Bay Widows gets it right, refers to her as a transwoman.

FURTHER UPDATE: In Newsweekly re-writes their article to correct themselves, refers to Jenine as a transwoman. Better late than never.


At 8:24 PM, Blogger icarus said...


Thanks for writing this post. MTPC really, really needs donations and support right now. I wrote a post about that here:

Please encourage everyone you know (especially GLBT organizations) to donate to and support MTPC as we work to lobby for the hate crimes bill.

At 10:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anyone man walking alone at 3am dressed as a woman deserves to be treated with respect.

It is such a normal thing to do.

Why I always walk around at 3am dressed as a woman. Thats when all the whores and drug dealers are out.

At 10:59 AM, Anonymous Fumi said...

I heard Matthew Shepherd was behaving openly-flamboyantly in public in and outside a local bar in Laramie, WY to heterosexual clienteles at the night he was killed. Was it his misjudgment to take that risk behavior?

Unlike Jenine (female), I’m a self-identified male, who always walks around in dress outside of bars at 3am to do my job. I believe that the life and safety is a basic human right; each time I cross the street, I’m aware I’m walking at my own risk, but I still have not given up my access to a proper care and support in case I got hit by a drunk driver.

I view it as my civil duty to try in my best ability to provide medical, psychosocial and legal advocacy whenever people get hurt for who they are, regardless of their gender. I hope we as society can bring this justice to any minority population.


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