Video brings hate crimes to light
Droves of Maryland residents gathered for a vigil in response to the brutal beating of Crissy Lee Polis, 22, which was caught on tape at a Baltimore-area McDonald’s last Monday. Reports claim that the transgender woman was the victim of a hate crime.
According to an article featured on SheWire.com, it is believed that two teens, aged 18 and 14, attacked Polis when she tried to use the women’s restroom at the restaurant.
Graphic footage of the video, which was shot by a McDonald’s employee, shows two female teenagers attacking Polis, constantly kicking, punching and dragging her across the floor by her hair. One patron and an employee tried to intervene and stop the assailants, but were unsuccessful. Others were laughing while observing the beating. ABC News reported that Polis, an epilectic, also appeared to have a seizure at one point during the beating.
Polis told the Baltimore Sun that “everybody sat there in that McDonald’s and watched me get hurt.”
Since the attack, footage of the beating has gone viral across several internet sites, angering those even outside LGBT communities, including some students at the University.
A transgender male studying technology at UH was appalled when word of the hate crime circulated to him. The senior preferred not to use his name in this article, so as to protect himself from becoming a victim of a hate crime.
“Hearing about the incident about the woman getting attacked at a public place makes me feel uneasy,” the student said. “It was the fact that people were there and did not make any real attempts to stop them.
Honestly, a mass crowd can stop three people. I’m angry at how society is scared and uneasy because what if they knew that person? It could have been a cousin, sister, girlfriend or any woman in your life.”
According to the American Psychological Association (APA), hate crimes against people who belong to a certain group or identify with a certain orientation can be detrimental to one’s mental and physical health.
“Victims of hate crimes may suffer from more psychological distress (e.g., depression, stress, anxiety, anger) than victims of other comparable violent crimes,” APA studies have found.
Survivors can also suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, which can interfere with an individual’s ability to function on a regular basis.
Some people diagnosed with this illness can suffer from sleep deprivation, headaches and other symptoms. Others even turn to substance abuse or act violently towards others.
Tracy Enemchukwu, a psychology sophomore at UH, was taken aback by this and other recent LGBT hate crimes that took place within the last couple of weeks.
“I believe that it is very disrespectful toward someone to do that because of their preference,” Enemchukwu said. “Just because someone chooses a certain orientation doesn’t mean that someone should beat them up or perform a gruesome act on them just because they are that way.”
Statistics have shown that hate crimes against LGBT individuals are still increasing.
Within the last ten years, Texans have reported more than 1,800 hate crimes, with only half a dozen being prosecuted as such. But it is only possible to gauge these results because of the number of crimes that go unreported.
Eradicating the issue of bias crimes may not be an easy task to accomplish, but according to the transgender male, it is worth a try.
“Hate crimes seem to always happen to the LGBT community no matter how much we provide the public information and raise awareness,” the transgender student said. “If people would really just get it through their head that everyone has a different perspective on how they live their lives, then these types of crimes wouldn’t really exist. Hate crimes are basically ill-educated people who are scared of change.”