Fourteen-year-old trans student Kylie Perez was beaten last week in the hallway of her high school by kids she heard say, “Oh, there’s the tr***y!”
The altercation, caught on video below, makes her mother Lillian Richards sick to watch. Since uploading it, though, she and her daughter have gained new friends, resources and networks of support, although they still fear for the teen’s safety.
Kylie said she plans to address those concerns in a speech to her fellow students at East Side High School in a series of assemblies that will address tolerance.
“I’m not going let it fade away,” Kylie said Monday. “I’m going to make sure that people know that trans lives, every life, matters.”
She said she’ll speak directly to the “haters.”
“You can have your opinion and I’ll have mine, too,” Kylie said. “You don’t have to bring me down.”
She said also she’ll tell fellow students the truth about what happened, after rumors about the motive for the attack spread through the school. Kylie said she put a video on Snapchat of a boy who was showing her attention.
Hours after Kylie and her mom met with Newark’s mayor and school administrators to discuss the incident, there was a rally outside of East Side High School in support of her.
“We’re here to make sure the community knows, that Kylie knows, and the quiet students around her know, that they can live their true selves,” Newark Gay Pride President Sharronda “Love” Wheeler said.
The rally was swarmed by students who had just gotten out of school. Members of different facets of the LGBTQ community began to speak, before Kylie and her mom ultimately arrived. They all embraced, prayed and posed for photographs.
Still, her mother worries. She said will take her to school Tuesday and pick her up at the end of the day. She wants to be near her daughter entering and leaving school to try to prevent another attack, she said.
“I’m not going to let anyone come and hurt her again,” Richards said.
Seven students have so far been suspended.
Watch Kylie speak about the incident below.