Young teen MtF TG murdered at school

    • 2573 posts
    August 18, 2008 10:35 PM BST
    A sparse announcement on Headline News today stated that a young teenage MtF TG was murdered by knife stabbing at her Middle=School. Reportedly, the person went to school dressed markedly en femme. No name or location was given in the news blurb.

    What will make this a political issue is that the parents stated they will sue the school district for allowing their child to go to school en femme. The significance will depend on whether or not the district is in a state protecting TG/TS students' rights to go to school dressed as their self-identified gender and the state's obligation to protect all students at school. In addition, it could address the issue of whether or not parents can discriminate against GLBT children's right to express their gender/sexuality or if they can suppress their true Self.

    Having grown up in a home where I was forced to behave in a way contrary to my natural tendencies, leaving me nowhere to relax and be myself other than in the woods (a common theme here at TW, I am sure) I am naturally interested in what could put this issue into the courts and possibly create legislation. I will be watching this story unfold on television and on the internet and will update this with any information that is released. It is, so far, being treated marginally by the news.
    • 2573 posts
    August 18, 2008 11:22 PM BST
    Story has now been addressed in detail. I believe I posted on this incident when it occurred, about the time I had emergency retinal surgery. Here is a newspaper article on the incident WARNING, THE ARTICLE FOCUSES ON THE SHOOTER, NOT THE VICTIM, FOR THE INITIAL PART AND ONLY ON THE VICTIM LATER IN THE ARTICLE.
    . http://www.venturacountys[...]-sense/
    Larry King,15, was shot to death during English class by a male student, on Feb 12th 2008 at Oxnard junior high school, which means it is under California law, which is the most protective state in the United States for GLBT rights.
    Brandon McInerney, 14, to whom Larry may have communicated sexual interest was arrested a few blocks from the school and later charged with first-degree murder and a hate crime. Three weeks after Brandon's 14th birthday, prosecutors announced he would be tried as an adult. Some at the Oxnard junior high school reportedly had seen Larry teased by students in the weeks before the shooting for being gay and wearing high-heeled boots and makeup. Some witnessed confrontations between Larry and Brandon, with Larry teasing Brandon and saying he liked him. In the days before the shooting, Brandon had been heard telling Larry to leave him alone, that he would hurt him. "The day of the shooting, Larry seemed upset, friends said. He had come to school looking different. Gone were the boots and makeup. He wore regular tennis shoes and had his hair gelled and carefully combed to the side, said seventh-grader Laura Gilchrist.

    "I said, Dude, what's wrong?'" Matthew said. "He said, Nothing.'""

    The parents claim the school allowed the Dress Code to be violated by their child. Brandon had been dressing en femme at school since January 2008. This could lead to an issue of what were Brandon's rights to dress as she chose. Certainly the defense will support the contention that the school was responsible for creating a situation in which the murderer was under psychological stress and there is the issue of whether or not Brandon was violating a "sexual harassment" rule under which the murderer should have communicated the "harassment" to the school administrators/counselors. What has the school done, especially since they have been aware of this dressing issue for over 7 months, due to teachers' reports,, to address the rights of GLBT students at school. On the news, it was pointed out by a caller that girls can wear boys' clothes. There is a question of whether the school could legally force Brandon to dress en homme according to school dress code or local laws. If this goes to court, it will force a clarification of TG rights to dress in both CA and it's schools (schools are infamous for restricting student's constitutional rights).

    It is clear that two lives were destroyed by this incident.
    • 1912 posts
    August 19, 2008 12:40 AM BST
    Now realize this is based only on the news article but I don't see where the clothes had anything to do with the murder. Larry, the victim, appears to have abused his ability to dress and progressed to questionable behavior intimidating, possibly sexual harrassing the other boy. Although nothing justifies murder, was Brandon driven to a breaking point which could reasonably be considered temporary insanity?

    Don't look for me to support anyone just because they are TG. If the crime deserves the death penalty, I will be more than happy to flip the switch.

    • 773 posts
    August 19, 2008 12:57 AM BST
    The parents and attorneys here are barking up the wrong tree, in my opinion. The issue was not whether the school system was liable for allowing Lawrence King's gender expression. but for not defending it.

    The policy of the Los Angeles school district where this tragedy occurred actually accounts for gender expression with regard to bullying. If the school district bears any fault in this, it's for not enforcing their bullying policies.
    • 2573 posts
    August 19, 2008 10:47 AM BST
    I was more addressing what the political/legal ramifications of the case might be. Roe vs Wade was based on a lie but has had significant impact on US law via the Supreme Court decision.
    • 1912 posts
    August 19, 2008 12:30 PM BST
    To start with you have mixed up who was who. You said
    Brandon had been dressing en femme at school since January 2008. This could lead to an issue of what were Brandon's rights to dress as she chose
    Larry the older boy was the boy who wore women's shoes and makeup. Brandon the shooter, was 14.

    As for a legal issue about his rights to dress, states and school districts have already gone to court and are allowed to establish dress codes. You are questioning parental rights more than you are the dress code. The parents are claiming the school should not have allowed Larry to dress. Sure, what the dress code spells out as proper attire will need to be addressed in court, but I do believe in every state that a 15 year old is still a minor and the parents are ultimately responsible.

    Like Robyn, I believe the dressing is just a side issue of little importance. It is more of a case of bullying. The question here is were both boys responsible for what ultimately happened. The article makes it sound like Larry, the 15 yr old dresser, was initially harassed by Brandon the 14 yr old. But Larry gave it right back, taunting Brandon until he cracked. I think the parents are wanting to blame the school for two reasons; one, the school has deeper pockets for a larger settlement; and two, they know their son was equally to blame for what happended so they can't approach it on those grounds. Bottomline is this is in California, God knows what the courts will decide.

    • 1195 posts
    August 19, 2008 7:27 PM BST
    Marsha - here in TX - the courts have declared very young ages to be tried as adults. There was one case of a 13 year old - true it's a shame.
    If memory serves, I think the insanity plea was thrown out in CA.
    I'm wondering why the parents didn't know how their child was dressed for school....hmmm.
    I'm checking to see if Oxnard is in the LA school district. Seems a bit far, but you never know.
    I had a teacher (many years ago) who used to say "people who live in glass houses, shouldn't play indoor baseball."
    • 1195 posts
    August 19, 2008 7:34 PM BST
    Oxnard, CA has its own school district. LAUSD (sorry Los Angeles Unified School District) doesn't have any Junior High school only Middle Schools. I almost interviewed in LA but they had so much paperwork I thought I was joining some sort of subversive organization. I hate paperwork.
    • 1912 posts
    August 19, 2008 9:03 PM BST
    Larry was a self admitted gay boy. He was open about his circumstances and proud of it. The dressing issue is totally irrelevant. Larry was teased and he dished it right back by flirting with them. For whatever reason, maybe peer pressure, Brandon could not handle even being joked about as being gay.

    I question in this situation whether or not Brandon should be tried as an adult, but that is about it. If he can make a decision to end a kids life, who is to say in his adult life he would not consider the samething. A murder is a murder.

    I think Wendy's question is the politics of it because of the parents suit allowing Larry to dress as he did. Personally I think the court will just toss the suit out because Larry was openly gay and the dressing was irrelevant. Could the school possibly be responsible or partly responsible for Larry's death? Quite possibly, but that is not the basis of this lawsuit.

    • 1083 posts
    August 19, 2008 11:57 PM BST
    Hi, all--

    I find I am not in agreement with Marsha on one point: The dressing issue is relevant, if only to make people aware that it may be more than a "gay" thing. If Larry actually was TG in some way/shape/form, then there may be deeper issues than "flirting" with hetero males. We are talking expression of the femme side here; and that for a 15 year old is often expressed through hormonal floods that are hard enough to control when considered "normative."

    From an earlier post: “Larry had been dressing en femme at school since January 2008. This could lead to an issue of what were Larry's rights to dress as she chose.” Schools have the right to dictate certain things in order to keep the peace. Do the students have certain civil rights? Sure they do. Illegal search and seizure of their lockers, backpacks, etc.

    I’m sorry to disagree with you too, Wendy--the kids shouldn’t always have the right to wear what they want. In some areas, that causes more trouble than making them all wear uniforms. It becomes a pick ‘em at that point in time, and some school districts have chosen to fight the uniform battles than fight clothing that is provocative, out of good taste, and possibly gang related. Peer pressure in today's teen society looms so much larger than it did when we were younger, and stuff we wouldn’t have dreamed of wearing when we were in high school is almost considered normal now.

    Back to Brandon: in my less than expert but somewhat trained opinion, he certainly could not handle being called gay. (For all that, most hetero 15 year old males can't...where I come from, "Them's fightin' words.") Again, peer pressure in today's teen society looms so much larger than it did when we were younger. “Kids threw wet paper towels at him in the boy's restroom.” This has passed mere name calling.

    Whether or not Larry was gay/TG, there was a murder committed here. Again, from the article: “…although more than a year ago he had begun attending meetings of a support group for gay, bisexual and transgender youth at the Ventura County Rainbow Alliance in Ventura.” That says to me at least that there were some questions, questions that needed answering.

    Should Brandon be tried as an adult? Absolutely. Marsha, your own words prove that: “…who is to say in his adult life he would not consider the same thing. A murder is a murder.” Should Brandon get some help before, during and after his trial?

    You bet. This kid has a sad history, I grant you. (That’s no excuse, by the way.) "This whole situation is extremely upsetting and sad…this poor kid (Larry) didn't have a chance, but it's not like Brandon had a chance, either." Even though there are better ways to handle things, here is a young man that truly needs some help to deal with things.

    Sadly, I’m afraid he won’t get it.

    Luv 'n hugs,

    Dr. Mina Sakura
    • 2573 posts
    August 20, 2008 1:18 PM BST
    Marsha, you are correct. I thought I had caught all the transpositions of Brandon and Larry caused by a confusing article read earlier.

    Oxnard is in Ventura County and not part of the Los Angeles Unified School District as it is in another county. This is only readily obvious if you know the local geography and boundaries.

    What may overrule any school dress code is CA recent State laws protecting TG rights. This is where there may be legal questions as State law overrules Local law.

    It seems likely that the school had failed, as they have historically, to stop bullying. Possibly Larry had discovered that his tormentors homophobia could be used as a weapon to discourage attacks on him. Clearly, this was a poor choice. Larry may also have been certain that Brandon would never react violently, as most students seemed to be shocked by Brandon's behavior.

    There is no necessity for the parent's case to have legal merit. Anybody can sue anybody for anything, no matter how absurd. The success of such a suit is not guaranteed, however. I won't get into the legality of all this as there is no telling. If the state does defend the student's right to dress en femme in school, as some schools in the US have done, it will have enormous ramifications for adults in CA.

    I wasn't aware of or intending to indicate that anyone should be able to wear anything they want. Larry should certainly have kept within either the male or female school dress code but it should have been his/her choice which gender he/she expressed as.
  • February 28, 2013 12:21 PM GMT

    as far as im concerned dont dish what you cant eat there is no excuse for murder life is unique and it should be sustained my thoughts go out to everyone involved but to say i didnt know things about my child is border line if not in fact neglect of your child and how does a boy get a gun they not cheap and how does a school allow such behavior to go on this is not the children's fault this is a fail of all the parents teachers that stud by and did nothing and they cant say they didn't know as thats incompetents its 1 of the main parts of been a teacher a person who is there to not only teach but protect the well being of all the the children they are in charge of brandon may have been a bully but those who bullied him should also be held accountable he needs help mentally to get over this he probs thought the only way i can stop this is by making it out that im not gay by killing the person everyone says im with that is also a fail in teaching by both the parents and teachers i can say for a fact that he def told the adults that were there to protect him  i live in the uk and bullying is ignored just as bad its a big problem and its all to do with lack education to parents teacher and children alike if a trans like me got bullied i would make the person say if it was a boy live like a girl for a week just to give them that same trapped feeling i feel every day living as a man as some people don't know how to imagine living in others shoes like i do i would never bully someone because i know what its like i can imagine what its like to have problems maybe thats an issue children lack imagination these days

    This post was edited by Rebecca Armstrong at March 9, 2013 12:35 PM GMT