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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Sasha Fleischman: Oakland Councilmembers Propose "Transgender Remembrance Day"

Posted By on Tue, Nov 19, 2013 at 1:39 PM


Two Oakland City Councilmembers are asking their colleagues today to enact a resolution declaring Nov. 20 "Transgender Remembrance Day" to consider the hateful acts against transgender people.

The resolution is timely, considering the recent incident where 18-year-old Sasha Fleischman was lit on fire while riding an AC Transit bus home in Oakland. While Sasha, who was wearing a skirt at the time, identifies as agender -- meaning Fleischman neither identifies as male or female -- the resolution is meant to highlight hate crimes like this, said Jason Overman, communications director for Councilwoman Rebecca Kaplan, who introduced the resolution along with Councilmember Lynette Gibson McElhaney .

"An injury to one of us is an injury to all of us," Kaplan said. "There are no words that could adequately convey the tragedy and brutality of attacks against members of the LGBTQ community -- in Oakland and everywhere. I'll continue to pray that Sasha recovers fully and quickly, and I'll continue working to create a community that supports the right of all to be free from violence."

Kaplan and McElhaney plan to present the resolution at tonight's meeting with leaders from the transgender community by their side. On Wednesday, the city will host its annual "Transgender Day of Remembrance" ceremony outside City Hall.

Sasha Fleischman
  • Sasha Fleischman

On Nov. 4, Fleischman, whose given name is Luke, was riding the 57-line home when he dozed off and woke up to find his skirt was on fire. The blaze quickly spread to his legs, causing second and third-degree burns. Fleischman has undergone multiple skin grafting surgeries.

Police used the bus surveillance to track down 16-year-old Richard Thomas, an Oakland High School student. Thomas is facing two felony hate crime charges, and the Alameda County District has petitioned the court to try Thomas as an adult. Initially, Thomas told police that he started the fire because he's homophobic, however, his attorney argued that it was a prank, not a hate crime.

"It's important we stand in solid with Sasha as a victim of violence, but it's very important we speak again hate crimes," Overman said.

If you feel the same way, head down to Frank H. Ogawa Plaza on Wednesday, Nov. 20 from 5:15 to 6:30pm. for the Transgender Day of Remembrance.

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About The Author

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert was the Online News Editor for SF Weekly from 2010 to 2015. She's a Texas native and has a closet full of cowboy boots to prove it.


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