Progressive. Queer. Feminist. Opinionated.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Trans woman arrested in shelter

Transgendered evacuee arrested:

A 20-year-old transgendered Hurricane Katrina evacuee remained in the Brazos County Jail on Thursday, five days after being arrested for showering inside a women's bathroom at Reed Arena.

Arpollo Vicks of New Orleans and her 16-year-old cousin were arrested Sunday night for criminal trespass after Texas A&M University Police noticed the two exiting a women's shower facility at the shelter. The two were born male but live as women and consider themselves female, Vicks said Thursday in an interview from the jail.

They are the only people who have been arrested at the local shelters since the first one opened Aug. 31, shelter officials said.

According to police who were providing security at the Reed Arena shelter, a woman complained Sunday night that several males were inside the women's shower facility.

Corps of Cadets Commandant John Van Alstyn, the man in charge of the shelter, says that he told Vicks not to use the shower, but she says no one told her anything like that.

"I don't think I should be here," Vicks said during a brief collect telephone call from the jail. "It's foolish. This is nothing to be in jail for. I live like this. This is my life.

"Right now, I'm just scared. I've been here since Sunday, and they haven't told me anything. I've never been in jail before. I'm just not used to this."

That poor woman. I understand that this is a he said/she said situation, but if you read the page I link to ... well, I'm inclined to believe her.

I remember explaining to my mom what transgender meant last winter when an episode of 'Law and Order: SVU' showed a trans teen. I told her that I can't even fathom what the discrimination is like for many of those people. And look at this woman: she had to swim out of her apartment, she slept on the highway, and now she's been evacuated into a new state, where she was arrested for going into the bathroom that best suits her.

What a heartbreaking story.


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