Court extends intimidation crime to transgender victims

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DETROIT (AP) — A Michigan law that prohibits intimidation based on gender covers people who are transgender, the state Court of Appeals said Thursday.

The court ruled in the case of a transgender woman who was shot in the shoulder after being confronted by a man at a Detroit gas station.

The man “engaged in harassment and intimidation of the complainant based on her gender. He showed her a loaded gun and threatened to kill her, causing her to fear for her life,” judges Michael Gadola and James Redford said.

Michigan law makes it a crime to maliciously harass another person because of race, color, religion, gender or national origin. Physical contact is another factor to consider.

The alleged acts by Deonton Rogers were “gender-based within the ‘traditional’ understanding of that term, and harassing someone on the basis of their male gender — whether perceived or actual — falls within the prohibitions of the statute,” the court said.

Judge Deborah Servitto wrote a separate concurring opinion. The court reinstated an ethnic intimidation charge against Rogers.

“This is a huge win for the protection of the transgender community,” Wayne County prosecutor Kym Worthy said.

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