Post submitted by Mitchell Scuzzarella, HRC Digital Media Intern California flag

Rallying behind their friend, students from Sasha Fleishman’s school today wore skirts in a show of support. Sasha, who identifies as genderqueer, was the victim of a vicious hate crime in Oakland this week when riding the bus home.

Now in stable condition, Sasha suffered third degree burns after a 16-year-old student allegedly set Sasha’s skirt on fire.

An online fundraiser to pay for Sasha’s medical care – including massive skin grafting – surpassed its goal of $20,000, prompting  Sasha’s family to send out a message of gratitude to the many who donated.

The student charged with the crime reportedly told police he started the fire because he was “homophobic.” The attack comes only a week after the 4-year anniversary of the passage of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act (HCPA) and reminds us of the need for LGBT individuals to feel safe in their communities.

While the passage of the HCPA shows that crimes targeting individuals based off of their sexual orientation, gender identity or other characteristics are not tolerated by our federal government, more must be done. Every state must consider ways to supplement the HCPA and address hate-motivated crimes.

Find out more about your state’s hate crime legislation here.

Filed under: Allies, Hate Crimes, Community

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