Trans Girl Bullied by “Protest” in North Mississippi

Posted: February 27, 2013 by jenniferallen1976 in Trans Feminism
Tags: , , , ,

Bullying has taken an entirely new form: student protests at a high school because a trans girl named Leah is dressing like the girl she truly is.

South Panola High School in Batesville, Mississippi, has students rising up to protest discrimination at their school. Sounds great, right? Students in Mississippi taking a stand against discrimination would seem to be something exciting considering how close this particular county is to Oxford, Mississippi, and Memphis, Tennessee. Oxford recently saw the 50th anniversary of the integration of Ole Miss, which brought KKK and gunfire and death in the three day siege on the town in 1962. Memphis is well known for being the location of Dr. Martin Luther King’s assassination.

Yet, this is not the kind of discrimination that these children are protesting. In reality, they are not protesting discrimination at all. They are protesting the right of a transgender girl to exist without pretending to be something she is not. Yes, that’s right. She is trans, so dressing and acting like a boy is pretending to be something she is not. She is a girl. She is not a boy. She is a girl who was born with the wrong socially ascribed gender. Is this complicated? Perhaps, but it seems fairly simple to me.

Furthermore, what harm is being done to these “protesters” by Leah’s transition? They have to watch someone exercise her right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness? They have to think about something beyond their own self-centered desires to understand it? If I don’t like what someone else is wearing, I don’t wear it. How simple is that?

I was born in Oxford, and I do not appreciate the way that these students are furthering a legacy of hate. However, I was happy to find this on Facebook: a page supporting Leah. Not everyone in Mississippi is an ignorant bigot, and I am glad to see that there is proof of this. Support Leah by liking this Facebook page.


  1. more people support her at her high school than don’t!!!

  2. I would hope that there are students supporting her, Austin, but the fact that some support her does not change the fact that so many DO NOT that their collective actions have made national news. I hope you are not suggesting that we should ignore what is happening to her because there are good people in the area as well as people subjecting Leah to peer criminal harassment (bullying) her.

  3. we should hardly the ignore it however it’s the parents that are makeing a big deal about her. the kids don’t care. I’m from a small town in miss. the pop is about 14,ooo i’m sure their town is not to different than mine. normal everyday people who don’t wish harm on anybody sprinkled with a few wackadoos who take there religion to seriously. all the reports i have read have stated the students support her. I’m sure there are some who don’t but i have not heard of any reports of threats of physical violence

    • Maybe you do not realize this, but what you are saying is downplaying the seriousness of this situation in Batesville. These “few” people you mention look like a mob to me in the photos I’ve seen. Whether or not they have made threats directly, staging a “protest” in large numbers is in and of itself a threat. I understand that it is frustrating when national news covers the place we call home with ugly truths and sometimes exaggerates events. Even more frustrating are the many stigmas that all of us from Mississippi and the South are faced with when we deal with outsiders. However, the answer to the problem is not in trying to minimize the weight of the truth or to sweep it under the rug. Anyone who thinks all people in Mississippi are evil or malicious is an idiot and a bigot. Why do you think the parents are forcing their children to do this to Leah? What difference does that make? She’s being put in a situation where she is not being allowed to attend classes in peace. All students are entitled to attending classes without being harassed on any level. Do you know people there, do you live in Senatobia or somewhere close, or are you guessing based on your experiences in the town where you live that the parents are the only ones bothered by Leah’s trans status? I have a friend who knows Leah personally, but I don’t think it really matters if the kids are being driven by their parents to do this or if it is of their own accord. A trans girl faced with a bunch of angry people for being herself sounds frightening, humiliating, denigrating, dehumanizing, and absolutely threatening. Here is a link showing this group of students that seems like more than nothing to me.

  4. that wasn’t a very articulate replay by me, let me rephrase that, I thought they were wearing sweatpants in support of her not to protest her. I read the story wrong. I fully agree with you

  5. ladypartsdoc says:

    Oh, ok, glad we worked that out, Austin. Have a nice day.

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