Bullied Transgender Teen Faces Battery Charges After School Fight

Teen is the only student charged, according to Change.org petition

By Carla Murphy Jan 13, 2014

Ahead of a February 5 misdemeanor hearing, big sister Valerie Poquiz is trying to get a California district attorney to drop battery charges against 16-year-old Jewlyes Gutierrez. According to Poquiz’s Change.org petition:

On November 13, 2013, Jewlyes defended herself against three girls who were tormenting and then physically attacked her. This was captured on video and you can see Jewlyes trying to run away. The students involved were suspended but to our disbelief, District Attorney Daniel Cabral then filed charges against Jewlyes for battery – she’s the only one charged.

The school district disagrees with the prosecution. "It doesn’t seem to be fair," Charles Ramsey, president of the West Contra Costa district tells Contra Costa Times. "You’re prosecuting a victim here?"

California last year passed the School Success and Opportunity Act to protect transgender students. But opposition is mounting, as mainly evangelical Christian groups are rallying around a ballot initiative to repeal the law this November.

A week before Gutierrez’s November fight, a transgender teen’s skirt was set on fire while the victim slept on an Oakland public bus. The accused firebug is a 16-year-old boy. 

Since last Wednesday, Poquiz’s petition has close to 30,000 signatures of support.

(h/t Contra Costa Times)