Woman filming Baltimore riots jailed with men after her trans status was revealed

April 25th 2015 Baltimore Maryland.
April 25th 2015 Baltimore Maryland.

Police acting under the guidance of the Governor seek to ignore the law during the Baltimore riots and a trans woman pays the price.

Transgender woman Deairra Michelle Venable was arrested Monday while recording the Baltimore riots. Venable was first jailed with other woman but when the police learned of her transgender status they moved her, despite her having legal documents showing that she is female. They took her bra leaving only a flimsy top for modesty and put her into a cell with 12 men.

Venable, a black woman, was swept up with 235 others Monday and held without charges or outrageously high bond.

“It’s been hell for her,” Astrid Munn, the attorney with Seddiq Law who’s representing Venable Pro Bono. He told Mashable “She asked to have the ‘she’ pronoun, but the commissioner refused.”

“In every respect she was a woman,” Munn said. “She stood in stark contrast to the other people in the jail, you know? It’s dudes.”

Munn said that officers and detainees bullied her and that the judge said “Well, you don’t look like a man,” when she entered the courtroom. Her bail was originally set at $75,000, but was pushed up to $100,000, though she was charged with fourth-degree burglary, a misdemeanor. She earns about $300 a week.

Baltimore prosecutor challenges system and files charges against the 6 officers who murdered Freddie Gray.

Baltimore slider riots

Venable was recording video of police activity around her when she was swept up in a mass arrest while people around her looted an apparel store, Munn said. Venable was released after friends of hers were able to come up with bail money.

Fundraising for justice

The Baltimore City Transgender Legal Defense Fund has started a indigogo fundraiser “but it will not be used to pay any of the lawyers who will be defending her” according the the campaign. “Instead, this fund will be used defray legal costs including the costs of any civil suit that may be forthcoming. If there are funds remaining, they will go to another LGBT legal fund.”

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Kelli, Busey is managing editor at Planet Transgender



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