Sessions’s Ordinarily Transphobic DOJ to Help Prosecute Hate Crime Against Slain Gender-Fluid Teen 

The Trump administration has made clear its stance on
transgender rights: in just nine months, the Justice Department
has rolled back workplace protections for transgender
individuals, dropped its case against North Carolina’s
transphobic bathroom bill, the Education Department has
withdrawn its finding that an Ohio school district
discriminated against a transgender student, and Donald Trump
has initiated a ban against transgender individuals serving in
the military.

Yet on Friday, the Justice Department departed from its usual
stance on transgender rights to appoint a federal prosecutor in
a murder case and apparent hate crime committed against a
gender-fluid teen. According to the New
York Times
, it is rare for the DOJ to appoint a federal
lawyer to a local case. It’s particularly noteworthy that the
request came directly from America’s racist uncle, Jeff
Sessions.

DOJ lawyer Christopher Perras will serve as prosecutor in the
case of Kedarie Johnson, a 16-year-old who was fatally shot
last March. The Des Moines Register reports:

News of Kedarie’s murder spread nationwide as he was reported to be a transgender
teen killed because of his gender identity
. But Johnson’s
status isn’t that simple, those who knew him said. Most of
the time he presented as male, but he loved to wear hair
extensions, leggings and glitter, and sometimes went by the
name Kandicee. He had girlfriends, friends said, but mostly
liked men.

At 16, he was exploring his identity and his options for the
future when “his light was snuffed out before it reached its
full potential,” said Jenna Sansone, the owner of the house
outside of which Kedarie’s body was found.

The move does not necessarily signal a shift in Sessions’s
Justice Department. Rather, the Times describes it as
“sending a signal that he has made a priority of fighting
violence against transgender people individually, even as he
has rolled back legal protections for them collectively.” In
other words, while the DOJ may acknowledge that transgender
individuals are discriminated against and specifically
targeted, Sessions continues to support policies that enable
discrimination against them.

Vanita Gupta, former head of the DOJ’s Office of Civil Rights,
articulated this contradiction when the told the
Times, “While it is of course good that D.O.J. is
aggressively pursuing this case, it would behoove Sessions to
connect the dots between his policies that promote
discrimination and hate that can result in death.”

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