HERCULES, CA, January 9, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A transgender high school student, who became a social media hero as an alleged victim of “bullying,” has been charged with misdemeanor battery for attacking a girl.
Jewelyes Gutierrez, a sophomore, slapped a teenage girl in the face at Hercules High School in the Bay-area city of Hercules last November 15. Two other girls came to the aid of the girl slapped by Gutierrez, who is a biological male. They briefly pulled the boy's hair before he ran off.
Now the girl he slapped has charged Gutierrez with misdemeanor battery. A board member of the West Contra Costa Unified School District confirmed the charges to KGO-TV 7 in San Francisco.
“I don't understand quite why the District Attorney's office would prosecute someone who's already been a victim of bullying,” said Kaylie Simon, Gutierrez's lawyer.
But Hercules police documents show that Gutierrez admitted starting the fight.
All students were suspended briefly. But when the school released a clip of the short altercation that had been recorded on a cell phone, which was uploaded to YouTube, national and social media portrayed Gutierrez as a victim, bringing new pressure on a school district that already has a troubled past.
The transgender boy has been unapologetic in public. “People who are different, I feel, should stand up for themselves,” he told a December 2 school board meeting. The school district agreed at the time to overhaul its anti-bullying policy.
In an interview after the charges were filed, Gutierrez says he should be filing charges against the girl for throwing gum at him.
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School Board President Charles Ramsey denied anything in the viral spat “should rise [to] the level of where it has to go to the District Attorney's office for prosecution.”
Gutierrez's defense team has tried to emphasize his role as a victim. “I think it's a further victimization of somebody who's been a target of homophobia and transphobia,” said Simon, who is a public defender.
Gutierrez's sister has started an online petition to support her brother.
California citizens delivered another kind of petition yesterday, challenging the state's law allowing transgender students to use the restrooms and locker rooms, and to sleep in the same hotel rooms on overnight field trips, of the opposite sex. Voters will be able to decide its fate in November.