Equality Forum Kicks Off in Philly

After a rash of hate crimes, including the one against a transgender woman in a McDonald's, the event hopes to celebrate people's sexualities.

Monday night kicks off the weeklong Equality Forum in Philadelphia. The event “coordinates GLBT History Month, produces documentary films, undertakes high-impact initiatives and presents the largest annual national and international GLBT civil rights forum.”

A main concern this year is bullying, according to Equality Forum founder Malcolm Lazin, like that surrounding Rutger’s student Tyler Clementi’s suicide and, most recently, the charges resulting from a video showing an vicious attack on a transgender woman.

The video, which went viral on World Star Hip Hop on April 21, records a brutal attack on 22-year-old Chrissy Lee Polis, who possibly went into a seizure during the incident.

The alleged assailants have since been charged. A 14-year-old girl has been charged as a child and an 18-year-old woman, Teonna Monae Brown, faces assault charges in the case.

Polis isn’t sure exactly how the fight escalated, but she said that it seemed like the two “just wanted to pick a fight that night.”

“The girl spit in my face and she approached me and said, ‘Are you trying to talk to my man’,” after a man approached Polis before she used the McDonald’s bathrooms, the victim claimed.

Polis, a transgender woman, insists she’s the victim of a hate crime.

McDonald’s fired the employee who recorded the attack, according to their Twitter.

A rally condemning the attack is set for 7 p.m. Monday outside the restaurant in Baltimore County.

The Equality Forum begins Monday at the Hotel Palomar in Philadelphia at 6 p.m. Tuesday features a National Transgender Panel at 8:30 p.m.

The summit is proudly sponsored by NBC 10.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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