Grand Divisions

Tennessee Equality Project seeks to advance and protect the civil rights of our State’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons and their families in each Grand Division.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

BREAKING NEWS: Transwoman assaulted at Kohl's Department Store in Jackson, TN

Akasha Adonis
Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving Day) is known for being one of the busiest shopping days of the year. Intrepid shoppers appear hours before the doors open at retail establishments across the country in search of deeply discounted merchandise for holiday gifts. We hear stories each year of customers storming the doors when they open to ensure purchase of an often limited supply of items on sale. Sadly, holiday cheer and good will is sometimes in shorter supply than the merchandise being sought.

Such was the case at Kohl's Department Store in Jackson, TN on Friday, Nov. 26. A transgender woman and her mother were assaulted by other shoppers as the store opened for business. When store personnel unlocked the doors to the store, Akasha Adonis and her mother of Humboldt, TN made their way to one of four entrances where there was no line. As they were entering the store, a girl from another entrance where there was a line ran up to Akasha's mother and another woman and attempted to ram through them into the store. When Akasha stepped between the girl and her mother to protect her, the girl jumped into Akasha's face and began cussing at her. At the same moment, a man attacked Akasha and another woman at the entrance. The assailant hit Akasha and pulled out her hair as he pulled her through the door into the store. The man then shoved his hand in her mouth with his thumb, tore three of her teeth out of socket, and broke her jaw as he forced Akasha to the ground. The assailant then stood up and walked into the store to shop as Kohl's staff stood idly by greeting other shoppers.

The other victim who was hit by the assailant called the police. Four Jackson Police Department officers responded to the scene. Officer Ashley M. McCullar interviewed Akasha, her mother, and the woman who was attacked. At first, Officer McCullar treated Akasha with respect. But Akasha noticed a marked change in attitude towards her when the officer learned she was transgender (Akasha's photo I.D. lists her name as Johnathan Quick):
When the officer first arrived on the scene and asked about the assault, he addressed me as she then asked for my i.d. and my name. [When] the  officer saw that it was a male name, and I was a male to female transexual, he immediately changed his demeanor in how he treated me and the other witnesses. He rolled his eyes and turned his back to not look at me and said that he had 'other places to be.' There was no more conversation directed to me but to fellow officers and [other] people. He was short and rude/dismissive to witnesses and to the officers I was the 'He not She.' The officer told my mother that the case would take a few days to write up and he would get the surveillance tape and then walked away. In the officer report he put in that "the black male then defended himself and put Quick in his place."
After learning that Akasha was transsexual, Akasha states that the officer made no real attempt to apprehend the suspect nor cared to view the surveillance video knowing that the suspect had not yet left the store.

Akasha's injuries were so severe
that her teeth could not be saved.
Akasha received medical care from a local emergency room and oral surgeon after the assault. None of her teeth could be saved and corrective surgery for her teeth and jaw will cost $6000.

Akasha's mother posted about the incident on her Facebook page. A Kohl's employee posted a comment in response which read: "no it happened before I got there. i got there at 5 AM. they said it was a guy and a guy dressed up as a woman . they said the he/she/it got its wig knocked off and some teeth knocked out." The employee may not have realized that Akasha's mother was relating an incident about her own child. The employee later deleted the comment from Facebook, but the comment was preserved in a forwarded Facebook email. The comment provides evidence of insensitivity and bias against transgender people on behalf of Kohl's employees.

Since the incident, Akasha and her mother tried to call attention to this gruesome attack, the lack of response by Koh'ls Store employees, and the bias exhibited by the Jackson Police Department by contacting local media (including WBBJ and the Jackson Sun newspaper). In a Jackson Sun report on Black Friday, Jackson Police minimized Akasha's injury:
The damage to Kris’ ankle is slight and likely not as painful as the punch in the mouth taken by one shopper at Kohl’s. Jackson police said two people got into a fight at that department store sometime before its 3 a.m. scheduled opening. Police said one person was socked in the mouth, but there were no serious injuries.
No. Serious. Injuries. Does the Jackson Police Department believe that permanent jaw damage and the loss of three teeth is not a serious injury? Are permanent injuries sustained by transgender persons not as serious as those suffered by others?
Akasha reached out to friends who put her in touch with Tennessee Equality Project. TEP's Madison County Committee Chair Drew Baker contacted Akasha to help and advise her on how best to proceed.

Akasha and her mother filed a complaint against the officer and asked for a written copy of the police report. The report given to Akasha omits a statement collected from an "unknown witness" cited in a separate section of the report recording the observations of Officer McCullar. The Officer recorded that the unknown witness said "Quick was outside in line and became upset with the black male subject and Quick then threw the first punch, the black male then defended him self and put Quick in his place." It appears that Officer McCullar is witholding part of the report that may shed light on whether the officer was recording his own transgender bias or that of the unknown witness. The other witness was the other woman attacked by the assailant at the entrance. What reason would she have to say that Akasha had been put in her place?

When Akasha and her mother contacted the Jackson Police Department to complain about their mistreatment, they were informed that JPD could not obtain a copy of the video surveillance from Kohl's without a subpoena. Since when is a subpoena necessary when a crime is committed?

Kohl's contacted Akasha today to request that she visit the store to complete an incident report for their company. When Akasha informed Kohl's representative of JPD's statement about needing a subpoena for the surveillance video, she was told that the police were welcome to a copy. Kohl's appears to be responding more appropriately at this stage, but the company appears to share liability for allowing an uncontrolled mob to put its customers at risk on store property. Let's hope that Kohl's cooperates in a full investigation of the incident by sharing the video and offers some assistance to Akasha with her medical bills.

This story is still unfolding, but several things are clear. Kohl's staff stood idly by while one of its customers was brutally attacked by an assailant who was allowed to walk freely into the store. Comments from store personnel demonstrate transgender bias of employees. The Jackson Police Department demonstrated bias in their treatment of Akasha, their minimization of her injuries, and in their reporting of the incident. JPD bias immediately following the incident may make it impossible to find the assailant and bring him to justice.

At this time Akasha is considering options on whether to pursue civil rights complaints.

- Jonathan Cole

102 comments:

drew said...

I am ASHAMED of my hometown today!

manicsquirrel said...

Chris,

Thanks for posting this. I'm shaking I'm so mad right now. If you have any ideas on how me or my contacts can apply pressure to the City of Jackson I am all ears.

Chuck Hatfield said...

I am not ashamed of my hometown. The dispicable behavior of a few people is not indicative of the rest. IF the attack was captured by the cameras, I hope she does pursue civil action against both the store and the employees who witnessed and did not intervene.

The Nephilim said...

Thank you for posting this. This is my niece and she deserves the same justice that any human being deserves. The po;ice officer should be reprimanded, Kohl's should have to compensate her, and the man that assaulted her should be in jail. Police officers take a pledge to protect and serve all people, not whom they pick and choose.

Greyson said...

Definitely not shopping there anymore.

Jakrabt said...

Nephilim, I do hope your niece will pursue a civil rights action against the JPD with assistance from an organization willing to step forward and fund her legal. There may not be any restitution from it, but the negative publicity for the JPD and Kohl's can hopefully make them think twice before treating an innocent human being with disrespect. Law enforcement officers need to understand that violating one's civil rights has serious consequence attached.

Katydid said...

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE someone make sure that she does not turn in an incident report to Kohl's without the aid of an attorney. Anything she says in that report can hurt her in a premises liability suit against Kohl's, and I assure you, they are liable for the incident.

Chuck Hatfield said...

Excellent point Katydid. Ifi have some contacts in the legal community and would be happy to refer. More than likely, however, it will mean finding someone outside of Madison County.

Sarah Vessels said...

This is a pretty sad tale. :( I hope Kohl's does something to make amends.

You guys have got Reddit's attention: http://www.reddit.com/r/WTF/comments/efrhb/transgender_woman_assaulted_at_kohls_department/

Fraggle said...

I am sickened by this blatant lack of caring for another human being. This story brought tears to my eyes as one of my closest friends is transgendered.
Thank you all for supporting Akasha. I'm sure she appreciates it.

Joe said...

This makes me so sick! Thank you so much for posting this, I think its very important that word gets out about things like this.

Conveniently enough, KOHLS email system isnt working. I am sure they don't care about losing my business, but I still would have liked them to see this story. I was going to copy and paste it to them.

I am going to pass this story around to as many sites as I can.

I believe people who plan these attacks, suffer from the worst cause of low self esteem. Maybe if they didn't worry about what someone else is doing, they could find their own happiness.

Randolph said...

Goddamn, didn't know Tennessee was such a backwards hick state. Guess I'm never traveling there, ever.

Chanel said...

A few people I know in the Trans community and I were interested in trying to raise some money to help her with her teeth, if there's anyway to get in contact with her or do that could toy please get back to me?

Jenkz said...

This is disgusting, sad, scary, disappointing. As a transsexual, it hurts to know that these things happen and I can only hope, that one day, all these unfair acts in the world will change. I am mad, I am sad and I wish and pray Akasha will get her fair justice.

-Jenkz from the Philippines

Trav said...

http://www.facebook.com/kohls?v=wall

Oh, hey, look, their Facebook page. And Kohl's comments on it regularly. I think we have a fine way to contact them now.

catplumtree said...

This is from their website.

"Kohl’s is committed to the highest standards of integrity and performance relating to social responsibility. Incorporating socially responsible principles into our daily business activities generates benefits not only in the present, but also for the future."

I know this is talking more corporate governance but I'm writing to corporate anyway.


Write to the Kohl's Board of Directors or Lead Director Steven Burd:
Kohl's Board of Directors
N56 W17000 Ridgewood Drive
Menomonee Falls, WI 53051
E-mail the Kohl's Board of Directors or Lead Director Steven Burd: directors@kohls.com

No Opera-tunities said...

This makes me so sad! I want to do something to help people in these situations.

Dawn said...

This is sickening. It's so infuriating that so many people in this country are filled with hate and fear. And it's so infuriating that the people who WE PAY to protect ALL OF US can pick and choose WHO they protect and consistently get away with it.

I hope Akasha continues to pursue them civilly and gets some form of justice. The perpetrator should be in jail, those police officers should at least be on disciplinary leave, and her medical bills should be covered by Kohl's because their employees stood by and allowed this to go on without calling the police or attempting to apprehend the suspect and for their employee's transphobic remarks after the fact. This bullshit should have never. happened. in. the. first. place.

zer05ive said...

Transphobia is horrible by itself, but this? This is disgusting.

basedonastryline said...

I think the Kohl's associates and the police officers who were on the scene should be ashamed.
This is a disgrace.

Maya said...

I am so sorry for what happened . I used to live in Memphis TN from 1996 to 2005 and I am transgender woman my self . I went to shop at kohl's back in 2004 and some of the employee's in the store made fun of me. I left and never went there any more then in 2005 I moved to Portland OR . we call other countries' 3rd world . wow move to TN and you will see the 4th world not even the 3rd world .I am really ashamed of what happened at kohl's and from the law enforcement in the 4th world sorry ( in stat of TN)
Maya Nicole

numol said...

Signal-boosted here, hope you don't mind: http://numol.livejournal.com/9322.html

And BTW, TransGriot signal-boosted you first (http://transgriot.blogspot.com/2010/12/another-day-another-trans-person-jacked.html), and she included this extra info:

"The Nashville based Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition ain't happy about this either and are urging people to call the mayor of Jackson, TN and the chief of the Jackson Police Department

Mayor Jerry Gist's Phone: (731) 425-8240; Mayor's Fax: (731) 425-8605
Chief of Police Gill Kendrick: (731) 425-8400"

Improbable Joe said...

First, let's get this out in the open: trans people are weird. They are unusual, unexpected, and generally make people feel uncomfortable. Secondly, let's talk about all the other weird folks. Fat people, really tall or short people, Trekkies, excessively religious people of all stripes, and about a dozen other groups.

Why do people think that it is OK to ignore the rights of some groups that seem weird, while others are treated like normal folks? People have every right to think that trans people are strange, but they don't have the right to ignore their rights as human beings.

I'd personally be a little weirded out by Akasha Adonis. I'd probably have a hard time making sure I got the gender-specific pronouns right for at least a little while. I'd also tackle anyone I saw assaulting her, and make sure she wasn't trampled by a mob on Black Friday. Thinking someone is a little weird doesn't mean they stop being human.

ultrapeanut said...

Hey Joe, how about going somewhere else to be a hateful, privileged douchebag?

The idea that any group of people is inherently feaky-deaky is exactly why people are attacked and mocked for having the audacity to exist.

Michael Kuntz said...

I'm cancelling my Kohls credit card.

Kathryn Martin said...

How about everyone go to Kohls facebook page and ask them to clarify their policy on diversity and what they intend to do about this incident. Worked a few weeks ago on Ross stores where an incident happened as well involving a store manager.

CLASSICKK said...

Sick.

ME! said...

@ improbable joe,

I think its great that your saying that (not sarcastic).

people are creeped out by certain groups, thats just how it is, you can't just tell everyone to be in love and understanding of all groups and then bam! they will be. the point is, you can't act on your feelings, especially in a violent manner.

ultrapeanut said...

@Joe/"ME!"

Yes, of course. It's totally rational to hate and fear those creepy trans people. As long as you don't act out on your totally normal urge to commit violence against those freaks, everything is just dandy and no one's being hurt. Well, no one that matters, at least.

Do you not understand how what you're saying is rooted in privilege and transphobia? The reason "some groups" are considered weird is because no one is willing to stand up for them.

Just shrugging your shoulders and accepting the dehumanization of minorities, but only up to a certain point before it becomes unconscionable to you, is neither a noble nor laudable position to take, no matter how backwards this hellhole of a state is. It earns you zero brownie points and completely excuses the hatred people feel for misunderstood groups, thereby enabling stories like this to continue far into the future.

Akasha and people like her are not creepy. Your need to be an apologist for bigotry even as you try to be acknowledged for your tolerance is what's creepy and offputting.

ultrapeanut said...

And you know, on a more basic level, Akasha's family has read and even posted comments in reply to this blog post. How do you think they feel when they see people saying their daughter or niece would "weird people out" by simply existing?

If you don't want to acknowledge the humanity of an extremely marginalized group beyond the point of saying, "I guess it's bad if someone beats them to a bloody pulp," you could at least show some common courtesy for the family of the victim of a horrible crime and hold your tongue about how creepy and offputting and confusing the minority she belongs to is in your mind.

People aren't a hivemind. It is possible for you to educate yourself and others about trans people. Don't just give up because you don't care enough about other humans to have even the slightest bit of empathy for them.

Daemonecles said...

It's clearly time to sue. Those bastards need to pay if they're going to disrespect the law and make a mockery of the justice system.

pecaslocas01 said...

this is very upsetting. I hope that everything goes well for her and her mother.

Andrea said...

This post, while otherwise excellent, probably should not have listed her old first name. I believe the journalism standard is to avoid that unless absolutely necessary. You could have put something like "(Akasha's photo I.D. lists her old male first name and the last name Quick):"

BritLangXVX said...

Every deserves the same respect. I'm hoping if enough people comment that this will get somewhere. It's rediculous, this comes down to human rights, trans rights, womens rights, so on and so forth. This is about being a human being and being treated like one. It's a huge deal, and I'm so glad someone has posted this for all to see.

Sharon said...

Not only is the person that committed this crime a bigot but the police officer as well is a bigot and should be suspended or lose his employment over this.
Apparently anyone that doesn't conform to somebody's standards as to what a human being should be gets the crap beat out of them.
What a lovely time of year to say HEY come and visit Jackson Tenn and shop at KOHL'S if you don't conform to our standards as to what you look like we beat the crap out of you.

Steven said...

Randolph said...
"Goddamn, didn't know Tennessee was such a backwards hick state. Guess I'm never traveling there, ever."

/agreed

Blue Bayer Design NYC said...

I have to say that the trans people who are part of the lives of myself and my family are some of my favorite loved ones.I am thinking of one lady in particular. Thanksgiving at her house is very special.
When I hear about this sort of violence and lack of understanding it causes me to realize how far this country of ours has to go.
I have a home in TN and have spent many years of my life there. I also have trans friends who work at Walmart and Steak and Shake ect in TN. Talk about being brave enough to be exactly who you are.

In response to Joe's post I'd like to also get something out in the open.
There is a reason Trans people are here. In other cultures at other times in history societies afforded them a place of respect.
The unspoken reason for the fear and hatred is religion and the culture of masculinity.
This warrior culture of ours is constantly paranoid that we are getting too soft. There are wack nut preachers protesting funerals of military service people killed in action because they claim god has turned his back on america because we have gays in the service.
The thread that runs through all intolerance in this culture is the myth of the superior white warrior who spreads freedom and democracy.
The white warrior according to this ideal is the highest value. He must be deferred to and obeyed. Everyone else must know his or her place.
This includes all other non white males and all women. The transgendered people are a threat to this order. According to this belief they are turned their backs on the gender god gave them and are weakening the race and the culture. The churches serve to justify all these beliefs and make it in some cases ok and in worst cases the duty of the believer to " purify " the country of these people. This goes for gays as well.

If we want to fully understand what happened at Kohl's we need to lay bare the underpinnings of how our culture works. Yes a black man upheld the masculine ideal and the cops supported him and said he "put him in his place." " His " place according to what they clearly justified was on the ground in a pool of blood.

I know I laid a lot of cards on this table. I would like to express my support for the victim and her family. I hope you are able to make her whole, healthy and sue the hell out of Kolh's and the Jackson PD. They man who did this is likely someone with a violent record and needs to be prosecuted fully.

I wish you and your family strength and peace. Blue

Blue Bayer Design NYC said...

In response to Joe's post I'd like to also get something out in the open.
There is a reason Trans people are here. In other cultures at other times in history societies afforded them a place of respect.
The unspoken reason for the fear and hatred is religion and the culture of masculinity.
This warrior culture of ours is constantly paranoid that we are getting too soft. There are wack nut preachers protesting funerals of military service people killed in action because they claim god has turned his back on america because we have gays in the service.
The thread that runs through all intolerance in this culture is the myth of the superior white warrior who spreads freedom and democracy.
The white warrior according to this ideal is the highest value. He must be deferred to and obeyed. Everyone else must know his or her place.
This includes all other non white males and all women. The transgendered people are a threat to this order. According to this belief they are turned their backs on the gender god gave them and are weakening the race and the culture. The churches serve to justify all these beliefs and make it in some cases ok and in worst cases the duty of the believer to " purify " the country of these people. This goes for gays as well.

If we want to fully understand what happened at Kohl's we need to lay bare the underpinnings of how our culture works. Yes a black man upheld the masculine ideal and the cops supported him and said he "put him in his place." " His " place according to what they clearly justified was on the ground in a pool of blood.

I know I laid a lot of cards on this table. I would like to express my support for the victim and her family. I hope you are able to make her whole, healthy and sue the hell out of Kolh's and the Jackson PD. They man who did this is likely someone with a violent record and needs to be prosecuted fully.

I wish you and your family strength and peace. Blue

John Haugeland said...

Jesus.

I called Kohl's (866-887-8884 customer service, 262-703-7000) to complain that their management hadn't filed charges against their staff member and the local police in defense of their customer.

The holiday themed hold music was "all I want for Christmas is my two front teeth."

Remember, this isn't the fault of the people on the phone. If you attack them, they can't help. If you ask them to help you bring to justice the cop and the staff member who allowed this violence to pass, they'll help.

Express confusion, not anger, and this gets fixed.

namitha29 said...

Namitha from India. Was left speechless on reading this. Such violence is common in India. It happens to trans people everyday. I hope Akasha pursues the case. The offenders have to be brought to book.

Recursive said...

and this is why no one should care if the south removes itself from the union... such a backwards, barbaric, ignorant part of the world. "uhhh huyuk err derrp..."

Lars said...

The victim should sue. Sadly, that is the way to get justice in this country.

premiermom said...

The transgender person is "considering whether or not to file a civil complaint"??? There is no considering!!! This person was brutally attacked and then treated horribly by store employees and police. NO ONE should be treated this way for ANY REASON. White, black, gay, straight, transgender people are just that..PEOPLE. AKASHA, IF YOU READ THIS, PLEASE GET YOURSELF AN ATTORNEY AND TAKE LEGAL ACTION AGAINST ALL INVOLVED.

Arielle said...

I posted a comment with my facebook profile that's under my name. I'm also spreading the word.

Remember, the best way to protest to a company is to simply not shop there.

"There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else." - Sam Walton

Universal Traveler said...

Is there anything we can do to help or show our support... I am from Mexico, but this kind of behavior, of mistreatment should not be allowed anywhere... i'm so mad and so sad right now...

john said...

Prayers and good wishes go to Akasha. I pray for her quick recovery, physically and emotionally.

As for the poster who said that he'd be confused about pronouns: Here's a hint - let the person you are calling by a pronoun give you a clue. If they are presenting as female, the proper pronoun is SHE.

poetforthemoment said...

@ all the people who are apparently offended by Improbable Joe...you guys are being a bit stupid, in my opinion. It's true that anything that deviates from the conventional norm is "weird" by definition. You completely ignored the fact that he also said that other groups of people are weird too, not just us transpeople. You also apparently totally ignored the part where he said he would have defended Akasha.
(Of course.)

Get over your self-righteousness, please, because that helps us about as much as transphobia does.

It's also fucking annoying.

David Alex Nahmod said...

Do unto others.......

numol said...

@Improbable Joe & ME!: I agree with ultrapeanut -- justifying that "uncomfortable feeling" you get around "certain people" is justifying bigotry. Admitting you're a bigot is one thing (although this would not be the proper place to do so anyway), but justifying it is never okay. And come on, Joe, how many people get murdered for being a Trekkie?

@poetforthemoment: I feel like "weird" is a really loaded word the way Joe used it -- to me, his use of the word reads as "other" or "alien" rather than "statistically rare", and the rest of his comment seems to confirm that attitude. And ultrapeanut actually did bring up Joe's alleged willingness to defend Ms. Adonis when responding to his comment.

billtodd said...

Well, poet, I guess some people think that they have no prejudices at all. Funny, though - there always seem to be a few unacknowledged ones lurking about (I'm particularly amused by the manner in which the Left and the Right ignore their prejudices about each other - because they think they're absolute truths).

I've never (to my knowledge) met a transgender individual, so I'd at least find one interesting and unusual. And as a old science-fiction convention enthusiast I've got to admit that, along with Joe, I can find trekkies a little weird.

People who elicit such reactions (by their behavior in the latter case, simply by their rarity in the former) can be excused for being sometimes aggressively defensive about it, but, as you point out, such outrage may not help their cause. Hope Joe maintains his relatively healthy attitude in the face of the reaction he received.

DJ Randall said...

I agree that the onus was on the Kohl's staff to respond to the assault. However, there is no credible indication that their lack of attention was indicative of insensitivity toward the victim on the basis of gender identity. While it's easy to pin the entire Kohls chain as the scapegoat, it would be more prudent to recognize the inaction of the specific individuals who are directly at fault for not responding appropriately to a criminal battery.

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numol said...

@billtodd: As someone who knows you in non-Internet life, I can tell you with absolute certainty that you need to lurk more. And I know you have a lot of unacknowledged prejudices of your own.

@Recursive: Didn't get around to saying this earlier, but I very much doubt this is just a "Southern thing". Can't confirm or deny the general nastiness of the state or even the town, but I can say that this sort of thing happens in the North, too.

billtodd said...

@numol: Given that you are absolutely certain about virtually everything about which you hold an opinion, I'm afraid that ceased to hold much weight with me long ago.

The first response to Joe was not only inappropriate but self-defeating. When someone offers sympathy, berating them for any unintended awkwardness in how they expressed it rather than acknowledging their intent while also explaining why it could be taken amiss, is a good way to make them less likely to be sympathetic in the future.

That's fine if you revel in ostracism, I suppose (I think it was FDR who famously stated of his corporate enemies, "I relish their hatred"). But if your object is acceptance and integration, not so much.

The Nephilim said...

Don't be fooled into thinking this is "just a southern thing" prejudice and bigotry goes on every day and in all cities, countries, etc. I have lived in both the north and the south and have seen and heard it in both. Don't try to make this a "southern thing"

numol said...

@billtodd: Do you mean to say that everyone who works against transphobia should always be polite, or just people who do not experience transphobia personally (it sure sounds like you mean the former)? Because while I don't know whether cis people like us should feel obligated to be polite, I DO know that trans people have the right to speak out against transphobia in any way they damn well please.

http://arionhunter.insanejournal.com/6918.html
http://theangryblackwoman.com/2008/02/12/the-privilege-of-politeness/

I know the last one's not about trans issues, but I think it applies to all uses of the Tone Argument.

mizanchan said...

Signal boost here! I shared this story on my Facebook, and will do whatever else I can from out here in California to make sure her story gets heard. This disgusts me and it breaks my heart.

ultrapeanut said...
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ultrapeanut said...
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billtodd said...

@numol: You've clearly misunderstood what I said, since I'd never suggest that people (transgender or not) have any OBLIGATION to be polite.

What poet and I were observing is that being impolite and/or righteously indignant (especially unnecessarily so, and especially in a personal response rather than in a general diatribe) can often work against the goals one claims to support, while satisfying little beyond a primitive (even if perhaps understandable) desire to vent. I thought the last sentence of my previous post should have made that pretty clear.

I think I'll bow out now: this isn't my cause, though I'm sympathetic to it, and I'll leave the discussion to those for whom it's a very personal issue.

ultrapeanut said...

I wish I could say that were surprising.

Thanks so very much for your concern, Bill. Verily, it brings a tear to my eye. It's like you almost think trans folks are people!

numol said...

I apologize for billtodd's ignorance -- he's my dad and I'm the one who linked this page to him. Clearly, I should have known better.

ultrapeanut said...

At least he's trying. It is something, it's just not enough to actually accomplish anything.

I don't usually comment on blog posts, but I live an hour away from Jackson so this hits really close to home.

I really was far more agitated than I intended to be, but it's so infuriating to have someone who will never have to worry about facing this kind of bigotry worry more about their own feelings than those of the people whose oppression they're shrugging their shoulders about. Even if you won't read this, Bill, one more thing I have to say to you:

Oppression is everyone's issue. It makes the world worse for us all. We should try our best to stamp it out wherever we see it.

billtodd said...

@ultrapeanut: I know I just said that I'd bow out, but I did want to thank you for your detailed, impassioned, and civil response.

I was in no way "handwaving' the legitimate issues implicit in Joe's post: if you revisit my words, you'll see that I was merely suggesting that reviling him for his failure to understand a world that very likely IS 'alien' to anything he's experienced rather than explaining why his phrasing could raise hackles might not be productive (and from what you've said you appear to recognize that as well).

I do sympathize, and to the degree that it's possible for an outsider I can empathize. But since I'm not caught up in the very personal angst in the same way I may also be able to offer a more objective view of how the expression of this legitimate and, as I observed before, understandable angst can appear from the outside, and how that may be counter-productive in specific cases (even though in other cases - especially public expositions rather than personal retorts - it may be extremely effective).

Now I really will bow out.

numol said...

...And billtodd leaves one more condescending poo-nugget behind him as he (hopefully) leaves the thread. "Outsiders have a more objective POV"... dear God. To mis-quote drew from the beginning of this thread: I am ASHAMED of my dad today!

[awaits another post from billtodd with "now I really really will bow out" at the end]

roisindubh211 said...

Its all well and good to demand accountability from Kohl's, but I'm more concerned about the police response. Were they even telling the truth about needing a subpoena in the first place, or had they not bothered to ask? I'd be very wary of who has access to the surveillance tapes. I don't suppose there's a way to get a different police dept on the case? Or Internal Affairs to oversee it?

LK said...

This is terrible. The assailant should of been arrested and charged for a violent crime.

The JPD need to fire the prejudiced officers responsible for mistreatment of this woman.

Sara said...

Jesus FUCK this makes me mad. Things like this have made me lose faith in humanity entirely. This is plainly and simply wrong.

EriK said...

This has nothing to do with hate against transgenders and everything to do with loving everyone and treating them as equals, which this police officer failed to do.

People are mistreated all the time, everywhere, no matter who they are. I'm not raising an eyebrow over the 'incident.'

But the police officers aren't doing their job. They're supposed to protect the people, and they can't choose who to help and who to ignore. If this is the whole story, the cops should be reassigned to retail jobs and lose their badges.

numol said...

@EriK: If you can read that entire post and come away from it thinking this has nothing to do with transphobia... that's some pretty powerful willful ignorance right there.

pcqpig said...

People are mistreated all the time, everywhere, no matter who they are. I'm not raising an eyebrow over the 'incident jade jewelry

Improbable Joe said...

Hey folks,

Some people got mad at my comments, other folks understood my intent. Maybe my intent can be made more intent this way: you could blast me in person for the things I said, and I would be pissed off and call you names, and in the very next moment if I saw someone assaulting you or trying to strip you of your rights, I wold have your back in a heartbeat.

My point is that we all have negative feelings for other groups, and even other specific people, for good reasons and bad. Nevertheless, those emotions don't give anyone permission to strip other people of their rights, or excuse people if they act in unethical ways.

I pride myself on being an ethical person. That doesn't mean that I don't have opinions on people... I think trans-folks are strange, along with Trekkies and Harley-riders and fundie Christians and all sorts of other folks... and I have no doubt that they all think I'm strange too. What it means is that if I see someone minding their business and other people assault them, I step in and risk my safety to try to help. It doesn't matter who it is, or what my opinion is, because my higher ethics tell me that no one deserves to be assaulted.

If some people think I'm being hateful because I say "I think you're weird and I'd put myself at risk to defend your right to be weird", then those people are wrong-headed at best.

PunxsutawneyPhyllis said...

@Improbable Joe: You are a rare person in this day and age. I salute you.

@people who have been hating on Improbable Joe: Stop jumping down his throat, m'kay? He did not say that he hates transgenders. He did not say that they are the root of all evil, or anything else like that. He just said that to him, they are a bit weird. "Weird" does not mean "bad," by the way. IMO, the world would be incredibly boring if it did not contain "weird" people. Variety is the spice of life and all that, you know? In any case, it is clear that Improbable Joe is someone who will put aside his personal feelings to do what is right--defend anyone who needs defending, regardless of race, creed, religion, or gender status. You should be commending him, not criticizing him.

numol said...

@Improbable Joe & PunxsutawneyPhyllis: "Trans people are weird" is a trope that is constantly being used to dehumanize trans people. That's why a lot of folks aren't okay with cis people saying that. It's not the same as saying "trekkies are weird", because trekkies don't get systematically discriminated against or abused the way trans people do for being "weird". And it sure as hell isn't the same as saying "fundie Christians are weird", because look at how much power they have -- power they use to make sure our country remains a dangerous place for trans people, too.

If you really would jump in and defend people being attacked, Joe, that's cool, and it's commendable, but I can not be comfortable with you saying that trans people are weird.

PunxsutawneyPhyllis said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
PunxsutawneyPhyllis said...

@numol: I take your point, although I think that it is sad that the word "weird" has been corrupted in this manner by transphobes. I only know one trans person, and she has never been called "weird"--she has been called much nastier things, but never "weird," so I was not aware of that particular connotation.

(I noticed a really bad typo in my first post, so this is just a correction)

elaine9838 said...

But since I'm not caught up in the very personal angst in the same way I may also be able to offer a more objective view of how the expression of this legitimate and, as I observed before, understandable angst can appear from the outside,

No, that's not how it works. I know it seems that way to those who are already given legitimacy by the culture, but that's NOT how it works at all.

Being detached from the issue doesn't make you "more right" or "more objective". It just means it doesn't touch you because you don't HAVE to think about it.

If someone stepped on your foot and you said, "ouch", would it be reasonable (oh, forgive me, I mean "objective") for the person who hurt you to say, "You know, if you hadn't been in my way that wouldn't have happened, and I'd appreciate you not shouting so loudly about it"?

No. It wouldn't be "objective" for them to decide you weren't hurt. It would be "insensitive" and "uncaring", at the very least. And acting like YOU did something wrong for expressing your hurt would fall under the umbrella of "privilege".

thinkstomuch said...

Ok, a few different things about all this...1. If I were working at a Dept store 3am on Black Fri or any other time & I see a fight breakout --NO WAY am I getting involved that's ridiculous that anyone would expect a store employee to try & break it up, someone could pull a knife or anything 2. The employee has every right to post whatever they want on FB, it can't be considered Kohls approach on the situation but that one particular person...& by saying he/she/it is not derogatory, it's just that persons take on it. If you saw a man in a wig but they looked & dressed like a woman & you didn't know the person was "transgendered" how would you describe it??! Other than saying it was a man in a wig & womens clothes! Seriously no matter how she said it would have been taken offensively...Really people are saying they are going to cut up credit cards & not shop there anymore LOL that's ignorant! You want to stop shopping somewhere bc of you heard a story of an employee's supposed "intolerance" so you then become intolerant lol for real people! 3. Being angry at the police department over 1 officers supposed indifference is also ridiculous. Not that I think it's okay for 2 men to fight but it is more tolerable & than a man & woman, w/that being said if the officer did seem less involved in it after learning the victim was actually a male...that's understandable!! 4. The news media has plenty to talk about in 30 min increments than 2 people getting in a fist fight...that is apparently all this really was, no one was stabbed or shot. 5. What's so wrong w/the phrase "no serious injuries"?! In the whole scheme of things 3 teeth getting knocked out is not a "serious" injuries...the victim was able to walk away from it, even stick around & be interviewed. Not saying if they were my teeth I wouldn't consider that a serious matter...but to the news media...that's not a serious matter...transgender or not!
So anyway, I think it's crazy to say that Kohls, 1 employee for her Fb posting, & whoever else stood back and watched...which was apparently every person around except the assailant & victim, are somehow responsible...the responsibility is w/the man that hit the victim...& the victim, just bc they were a victim doesn't mean they didn't help bring it on...it's a very angering thing to wait in a line for hours then watch people rush to the front...I'm not condoning the assailant, but I understand that frustration. I think the incident was probably due to that than the fact the victim was a transgender person.
Those are my opinions...they don't really matter, none of ours do. But I was bored & thought if everyone else can post their stupidity on the matter I could too...have a nice night. And may we all learn a lesson, we should have learned in kindergarten...don't cut line!! Man woman or man in a wig...it's just not a nice thing to do, & you never know when there's going to be someone that will knock your teeth out for it!

numol said...

* Oh yeah, and her jaw was broken, too. Not just three teeth knocked out, but a broken jaw. So yeah, pretty serious.

thinkstomuch said...

Excuse me, a broken jaw too & no doubt a few finger nails...still I don't think those injuries would be considered serious outside of the victims circle...I certainly don't, if someone was in a wreck & lost a few teeth & broke their jaw..they wouldn't be listed in "serious condition"...there are fights all over the country on Black Friday, & I for one would rather get on w/my Christmas season than to hear about every one of them. Why should this one receive special attention? Because the victim was "transgender"? Lol people want equality, the victim got it, but now would rather have special attention because they are "transgender"....fickle fickle

numol said...

@thinkstomuch: The "special attention" Ms. Adonis is getting is because of the police's response and the behavior of the Kohl's employees. If McCullar and the others had done their jobs instead of being frivolous and transphobic, and if the Kohl's people hadn't been so transphobic themselves (and so very publicly, too), this case would not be getting so much attention.

And as my previous response to you got deleted, I'll just say real quick here that none of your arguments made a lick of sense, and that if you're not actually trying to justify the initial attack and the subsequent transphobia of the police and Kohl's workers, well, it sure looks like that's what you're doing.

thinkstomuch said...

The thing that strikes me as funny about all this...is how lucky the guy is that did the attacking, he has virtually been forgotten about...Everyone is more concerned w/ what should have been done by the employees and the police lol that had nothing to do w/the confrontation! From what all I've read I don't believe the officer in question was on the scene when the altercation took place, so therefore could not have prevented it. The employees were present, but again, there would be no way I'd step into a fight. I'd call the police. I think the blame that's being laid at these people who were merely on the scene is ridiculous! Have you ever been out on Black Friday?! I doubt if many people really even noticed this going on. This past year when my kid was playing soccer I was watching him play so intently I completely missed a fist fight myself, it happens we get wrapped up in our thoughts & aren't really seeing what's happening in front of us. I think it's ludicrous that an employee or employees of a store should be held responsible for a man standing in line outside...It's not as if they brought him a pair of brass knuckles or patted his back when he walked away. The only two people who are responsible are the assailant and the victim...if he wanted to avoid confrontation he would have gotten in line. The only person that should be responsible for his dental work is the assailant... The idea that Kohls pay for it is hilarious, that would be the Black Friday special every where next year!
I wonder though, in a "perfect non-transphobic world" what should have happened that night? Would it be that no one that waited in line 3-4 hrs be offended when the victim and his mom cut line? I guess all of us backward, ignorant folks should see right off that the man in a wig & woman's clothing is transgendered & we should all just turn back around & let them do as they please...why is it that people that are "transphobic" are the ignorant ones? If my kid points to an apple & says I'm going to start calling those bananas...he's wrong! If he points to an elephant & calls it a bird he's wrong! So please explain why when a man dresses as a woman we are all supposed to call him a she?! I must be backward ignorant and most definitely "transphobic",the idea that I would know something to be one thing and to continually deny and insist it is another is beyond me...I'm not going to stare & point and call someone names if they do differently than myself but I'm also not going to call an apple a banana...got off my point, oh well! There really isn't one here I guess anyway!

thinkstomuch2 said...

There is an unbiased account of this situation posted by the Jackson Sun today...all you haters should check it out...seems the story Adonis told didn't match up w/the surveillance video...He seems to have been the one responsible for the confrontation. Also 2 employees broke up the fight rather than stand back and watch...anyway if anyone wants a different more enlightening view check it out. Or you could all keep hating on the intolerance of all of the "transphobia"...lol the intolerance or intolerance is hilarious!
Btw...does anyone else think it's a funny coincidence that the name he picks out for his female self is that of a Greek god...Adonis...seems like he should have went w/Athena...

numol said...

@thinkstomuch (and thinkstomuch2): I really have my suspicions about how "unbiased" that new article is (for one thing there IS no such thing as unbiased news), but even if SHE did start the fight, the fact is, officer McCullar and others still dismissed her because she is trans. Plus, if Bates' statement is true, it looks like SHE attacked him after he called HER a man -- that's not the best excuse for punching someone and I'm not saying she did the right thing (if she did, in fact, start the fight) but I can understand it.

And as for your ridiculous rant about gender identity: fine, let's all just go around calling people how they appear to us without considering their personal identity. Next time I see a guy with a beard I'll call him Santa, because don't you know, all guys with beards are really Santa, and don't you dare tell me otherwise! He'll be all like "no my name's Mike" and I'll be like "NO YOU ARE SANTA! DON'T CALL AN APPLE A BANANA!"

olegia said...

WOW this is reeeeeeeally wierd idk if i will ever walk through kohl's doors again lol i hope i never hear or see this kind of news again every body leave a comment

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numol said...

Returning late to say sorry for cissplaining to poetforthemoment. I messed up bad there.

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Transphobia is really very disgusting, its kinda weird also, please stay safe!
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Pearl de Theophania said...

My goodness, that is terrible. =( I love shopping there....can't believe people just let something like that happen. People have no backbone anymore.

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