GLAAD condemns fake “report” of harassment by transgender student
October 17, 2013
California signature gatherer caught lying to trick people into discriminating against trans children
October 19, 2013

YOUR HELP REQUESTED: HRC condemns fake trans harassment charges, ex-gay group dodges my fact checking, family & friends open up

Today, HRC has joined GLAAD in condemning the false reports of trans harassment by an ex-gay/creationist group, the Pacific Justice Institute (PJI). The PJI is the organization at the center of an international effort to malign one transgender kid. Last week, the PJI issued the right-wing community talking points for use in their fight for their right to discriminate against trans children. In their letter, the PJI claimed that they were concerned that the school was helping a trans kid harass cisgender girls. Right wing media outlets jumped at the story without fact checking and inspired members of the right wing community to call for the death of the trans kid.

I’ve been talking with the family targeted by these hate groups – both ex-gay & TERF – and I’ve got to say, I feel disgusted by the entire thing. The girl that’s the focus of this anti-trans hate campaign is a beautiful talented young lady and the mother has a spine of steel. I feel horrified at what’s happened to their family.

In a PJI fundraising letter issued yesterday – replete with a huge red working donation button and hosted by attorney Cathy Brennan – PJI extolls their hard work in targeting the trans kid:


Donate to the anti-gay hate group, “click here,” hosted by Cathy Brennan

The fundraising letter was written by Brad Dacus of the PJI:

After it came out that the trans harassment story was a right-wing hoax, some media outlets began retracting the story. The Daily Mail tabloid deleted the story from its site and the Examiner retracted the story and apologized to the trans student.

Unfortunately, Fox News continues to run the lie:


Fox News Headline as of October 18, 2013

TERF attorney Cathy Brennan promoted PJI’s fundraising letter yesterday via her numerous social media accounts. Brennan’s PJI letter claims to have sent LGBT forces scrambling:


For her part, Brennan created a page that promotes the ex-gay organization’s claims. However, she went a step further than most and outed the trans kid:


Releasing the name of the trans youth

The “Cristan Williams” link in the above image takes you a page Brennan created for me on her rapist/incest site. She used my photo and underneath it asserted that I’m a man and that I have a history of harassing cisgender women. Brennan, like PJI offered no evidence to substantiate their claims of harassment.

Both PJI and Brennan seem content to pretend that this is about something other than the life of a transgender child. ADULTS have made reprehensible claims about this kid – directly inciting violent intent – without evidence to back it up. After their smear campaign lead to public calls to hunt, beat and kill the trans youth, Brennan released the kid’s name.

Brennan became somewhat infamous after she outed a trans teen to his parents and school, attempted to intervene in the medical care of a transgender person she didn’t like and attempted to have the United Nations strip protections from the global trans community.

A Dose of Reality

The lies being spread through the “news” are just horrible. I want to be able to let people know I haven’t done anything to harm any being and I am a human with feelings too. I just really hope from all of this comes good & allows more minds to become accepting & open.

 – The trans kid PJI and Cathy Brennan are targeting

I think the right-wing and TERF attorneys mistakenly believe they’re fighting for a cause when what they’re doing is publicly beating up a trans kid.

This is the image the trans youth shared with her friends for Spirit Day:


I’ve spoken with the School Superintendent, the family that’s being targeted, family friends and have published honest statements by people who are familiar with the day to day life at Florence High School.

[PJI is] so pathetic. My mom asked me about this whole thing when she saw it on the news, and I told her. She even said they were being dramatic.

– A Florence High School cisgender female student familiar with the issue

Another cis female student

Another cis female student

I have to believe that adults, in their blind crusade to stop trans equality at seemingly all cost, have lost sight of the fact that they’re talking about A KID. Worse, they seem indifferent to the fact that kids like the one they’re targeting attempt suicide at a 51% rate.


PJI gloated in their fundraising letter:

PJI urged school officials to immediately identify any factual allegations they considered to be disputed. School officials have yet to respond to this invitation, but Superintendent Rhonda Vendetti instead gave an interview to a transgender activist in which she was defensive of the school’s actions and dismissive of some of the allegations. This interview was seized upon by advocates, who claimed it somehow proved the story to be a fabrication. Under intense pressure, several news sites took down or retracted their stories rather than investigating further. Not so fast, say PJI attorneys.

“Transgender activists are in full damage control mode because they know how explosive and damaging to their cause this story is,” noted Brad Dacus, president of Pacific Justice Institute. “The central issue in this case—a high school’s decision to give a biological teenage boy full access to teenage girls’ bathrooms is both disturbing and not seriously disputed. It is very revealing that the Superintendent is seeking sympathy from transgender activists instead of addressing the serious concerns raised in our letter.”


Yup. I did pick up the phone and call the school. Did you?

Yup. I did talk with the family. Did you?

Yup. I have talked with family friends and people who live in Florence, Colorado. Did you?

Yup. I have talked with Florence business owners about this issue. Did you?

Yup. I did produce evidence relevant to your fact assertions. Did you?

In the real word – especially when we’re talking about possibly destroying the life of a kid – you had better have some evidence to back up your claims. In the real world, you can’t make a wild assertion and then claim that it’s true because people are ignoring you.

PJI admits that they know there was an investigation and that claims of harassment were deemed false. They say so in their fundraising letter. If they know this, why do they persist in going after this kid?

What’s their endgame, here?

Oh, that’s right. The ex-gay group tipped their hand to their true purpose in the last paragraph of their original press release:


Apparently the life of this Colorado kid is mere fodder in their larger war against Californian protections for school-age trans kids.

And still more fact checking

If you notice, the PJI fundraising letter lists a number to call if you have any questions. The letter directs you to speak with Brad Dacus. Brad is the guy who, in August 2013, claimed that protecting trans kids would lead naked boys, assisted by the state, taking showers with naked girls:

So I called Brad.

Our conversation went like this:

Me: Hello? I’m Cristan Williams. I’m with the TransAdvocate. I’ve written a few stories about what you’re doing with regard to the Colorado trans youth. A letter was passed on to me yesterday from you guys and listed you as the contact.


Me: Hello?

Brad: Are you left wing or right wing or…

Me: Um… no. I’m not writing for a political party, I’m writing about transgender issues, specifically what’s going on with the trans kid you’ve been writing about.

Brad: Right, so it’s progressive…

Me: Um… well, no. It’s not about endorsing a political party or anything like that. So… your letter, do you have time to talk about it?

Brad: I don’t have much time, but you know who might talk to you about that is Matt McReynolds. And that would be 916-857-6900. I think he’ll be able to answer your questions better than I.

Me: But, that’s the number I called to get you.

Brad: Right. Call it and ask for Matt

Me: Alright, well… thanks for talking with me.

So, I call Matt:

Me: I’m Cristan Williams. I’m with the TransAdvocate. I’ve written a few stories about what you’re doing with regard to the Colorado trans youth. Brad asked me to talk with you.

Matt: Well, I don’t really have time to talk.

Me: Okay. Is there a better time?

Matt: Monday?

Me: … Okay. Monday would work.

Matt: Yeah, that would allow me time to organize a conference call so that we can talk with you.

Me: *chuckles* Sure. No problem. What time? I’m central. You?

Matt: We’re pacific. How about 1:30?

Me: That sound perfect! While I have you on the phone, would you just let me know if you’ve ever talked with the family you’re targeting?

Matt: … I’m gonna… I won’t be able to comment on that.

Me: Gotcha. Sure. Okay. Then we’ll talk Monday then, I suppose.

Matt: Yes…

Me: Okay. Thanks for speaking with me.

Ugh! I know the drill on Monday and I’ve about had my fill of anti-trans attorneys who seem to think it’s fine to behave like this. This isn’t a game. This is the life of a trans kid.

Where YOU come in

So, I need your help and no, unlike PJI, I don’t want your money.

This is as real as it gets. I need your help in holding PJI to account.

I think it would be a powerful statement to ask PJI serious, hard hitting from a community of people who stand against their obdurate behavior.

What are the serious questions you’d ask PJI on Monday during our interview?

What sort of questions do you want them to answer?

I would like to represent the community’s voice in my call to PJI Monday. So, please… share with me the serious, hard-hitting questions you want PJI to answer.

[column size=”one-half”]

Tip this TransAdvocate!

Writers for the TransAdvocate work hard to bring you news and commentary. If you found this article meaningful, let the author know that you appreciate the work they do with a tip!
[/column] [column size=”one-half” last=”true”] TipJar

Cristan Williams
Cristan Williams
Cristan Williams is a trans historian and pioneer in addressing the practical needs of the transgender community. She started the first trans homeless shelter in the South and co-founded the first federally funded trans-only homeless program, pioneered affordable healthcare for trans people in the Houston area, won the right for trans people to change their gender on Texas ID prior to surgery, started numerous trans social service programs and founded the Transgender Center as well as the Transgender Archives. Cristan is the editor at the social justice sites and, is a long-term member and previous chair of the City of Houston HIV Prevention Planning Group.
  • Pingback: Blogschau #1 | A++ Ranting()

  • Pingback: Radical Feminism | The Butterfly Emerges()

  • Copy of my concluding and scathing comment on Fox News

    As I absorbed the sequence of events that have reportedly led to the transgender child in Colorado being placed on a medical hold (suicide watch), I realized that as a parent, love for our children invokes the maternal instinct of protecting our child, even if unto death. As I reversed engineered the circumstances that have led to the abuse that this child has unequivocally faced and is enduring, I arrived at the following indisputable conclusions, based on the information made available.

    *Concern for privacy**** Understandably safety and privacy are of paramount concern, for everyone, especially for our children, even more so when such spaces must be shared with adults (public facilities). A reasonable expectation of privacy includes such areas that typically coincide with camera-free zones. Privacy in private areas also extends laterally, to the extent possible even amongst peers. As parents, our child’s safety is uppermost in our minds, from any and all concentric threats. How then did crucifying this transgender child in the court of public defamation constructively address these concerns?

    *Legality vs Opinion**** Understandably concerned with student privacy, someone said that someone said that someone said that harassment occurred inside a restroom. Daisy-chained “telephone” information has a label: hearsay. Hearsay proves no point, but it certainly (as in this case) serves to incite the masses who receive it as bible-sanctioned fact. Many of us know “hearsay” by another word: rumor. Rumor can be true, but more often than not it is false information, blessed with confetti, spun counterclockwise with a few abracadabra’s thrown in for good measure and stamped “FACT” (as in this story). Legally speaking and corroborated by other credible information (usually medical), a transgender child is far different than his or her birth sex. Like it, hate it, your opinion means nothing in the face of our physical reality and this legal and medical truth. This is why the child’s mere presence in her restroom violated no laws or school policy. I ask again—-how then did crucifying this transgender child in the court of public defamation constructively address these concerns?

    *School privacy regulations**** A child’s medical history is protected by the most stringent legal requirements. School staff are bound to protect each student’s private information subject to release only to those with a “need to know”, and they are to be commended for doing just that. Reportedly, a private party, who apparently knew the identity of the transgender child “sounded the (false) alarm” which led to a claim of “harassment” through a “transgender alert” press release. Reportedly, complimentary peer conversation and the child’s mere (legal) presence in the restroom constituted “harassment”, although the “press release” spoke only about “privacy”, but not for ALL students, only for the non-trans students. Female restrooms are already very private, in fact so much so that they have individual stalls, just like dressing rooms. Concerns, whatever they may be should have been addressed in such a discreet manner to protect the transgender child’s privacy as well, reportedly the very basis for concern in the first place! I ask again—-how then did crucifying this transgender child in the court of public defamation constructively address these concerns?

    *This amounts to child abuse/exploitation**** The grief, emotional distress, physical pain, torment, rejection, irreparable psychological damage to this teen child is outright child abuse. This is precisely why no discussion should ever come at the expense of a child, not now, not ever. This transgender child’s privacy has been violated, her identity has been attributed to a false charge of harassment, she has committed no violations, and yet someone somewhere decided that for “the cause” she should be so publicly bullied and sullied. This never ever should have occurred and it must stop. As veterans, we served our nation in protection of the Constitution, including the right to free speech. Free speech however stops when jeopardizing another person’s safety begins, as has occurred with this trans child. Those who have aided and abetted this abuse are principles to it and must be held responsible for inciting mass hatred against her and for inflicting such damage to a child. The opinion that genitalia distinguish between “boys” and “girls” is not one supported legally or medically relative to restroom access and should never have risen to the level of “fact” to be used as a weapon against this or any transgender child, now or in the future.

  • Pingback: Cleverly Named Bunch o’ Links 10/25/13 | Gravity's Wings()

  • Pingback: Bear assassins, victim-blaming, your terrible family at Unreported()

  • Pingback: What happens when PJI is confronted by parents? | The Transadvocate()

  • Pingback: Cathy Brennan & TERFs Hate Women | GenderTerror()

  • Pingback: Family of Colorado trans kid targeted by harassment hoax speaks up | The Transadvocate()

  • Pingback: California signature gatherer caught lying to trick people into discriminating against trans children | The Transadvocate()

  • Pingback: Call for help: please speak out about this joint harassment of a young trans girl by TERFs and the religious right, in unholy alliance | feministsfightingtransphobia()

  • Reading that made me too sick to think of any questions for the PJI. The only questions I can think of are “What possible reason could someone have for outing the student except to make it easier for violent bigots to find her?”, “Why do the mainstream ‘LGBT’ websites refuse to acknowledge that one of their own is gleefully siding with the bigots in this case?”, and “Why does humanity continue to disappoint me?

  • “In the many states and countries with anti-discrimination laws for trans people, have you found any officially diagnosed trans people successfully convicted of (attempted) rape in bathrooms?”

    “Besides an apology, have you made any plans to repair the damage your defamation of this child has done?”

    “As a predominantly Christian organization and in the spirit of Christian love for all beings including one’s enemies, what are your plans to protect trans children from bullying and harassment?”

  • I’be sent my suggested questions privately; rather than giving them a chance to prepare answers.

    But I will ask this one here.

    Will you be using any of the funds raised by Cathy Brennan to prevent her (or others) from entering same sec marriages? Will you be using any of those funds to interefere with her (or people like her) parental rights or custody rights if same sex couples have children togehter?

    Will you attempt to limit her rights to her child? Is she funding those efforts?

  • I want to first say thank you for the hard work that you have done on this story. Great job!!!

    If I was able to ask any questions to PJI, I would ask:

    1. Now that their bogus story on a minor child has been debunked, Why are they still continuing to attack her?

    2. A follow up… Are they worried about a lawsuit from the parents of this child? (I know I would be looking into it!)

    3. Why is it so important to them to find an example of a trans-girl doing any harm by using the restroom that they would resort to attacking a innocent child?

    4. Have you hired Cathy Brennan as your official spokes person on the transgender issue? Or have they hired or retained her?

    5. Follow up… Do you understand that she is TERF lesbian and aware of the track record of hate that she has and that she is a lesbian?

    6. Do you have any proof that this child or school did anything that you are claiming?

    7. Why has PJI taken the initiative challenge bill 1266? What is it that they feel is the reason that this law is harmful to students? What evidence do they have that supports their claims?

    8. Follow up… Can you provide one valid formal complaint about a trans-student in any California school district? Since there has been over a decade of trans-inclusive policy in some districts surely they have some real examples of how dangerous it is. I mean if that is what they are claiming. Or are they waiting on you to do their fact checking for them.

    9. Follow up to the follow up… If they continue to make false claims about trans-children as they have about the rest of the LGB community, How do they expect people to believe them?

    10. When is it that you will actually take responsibility for the negative impact on the LGBT community by lying in order to make your argument? It seems the only track record that PJI has is a losing one.

  • This is also a feminist issue. Have any large feminist groups responded? We need their help with this.

  • 1. When most people think harassment” they think in terms of verbal abuse (i.e. use of pejoratives or epithets, threatening violence), physical violence (i.e. hitting, shoving, picking fights), and cyberharassment (i.e. deriding, saying someone should kill themselves, posting videos taken in secret). When you use the term harassment to describe the behavior of trans FHS student, would any of the trans FHS student’s behaviors you are aware of include that student verbally or physically abusing other FHS students, or are you aware of the trans FHS student cyberharassing other FHS students?

    2. How many students are you aware of that have claimed to FHS or your organization that the trans FHS student have harassed them, or have witnessed harassment?

    3. The school investigation indicated there was no incidents of harassment by the trans FHS student. What do you expect the police investigation to reveal about the trans FHS student that would be criminal in nature?

    • I would follow up questions along these lines (that probe the meaning of “harassment” according to PJI) with something like this:

      4. Are you aware of the large number of calls to violence against this child that have appeared on conservative and Christian news sites? Do you believe that publicly calling for violence to be committed against a young child constitutes harassment?

      5. Are you aware that a Maryland lawyer has publicly released the name of this young girl? Do you condemn that action?

  • Given the fact that several major metropolitan school districts have longstanding policies going back years which recognize equal access for trans youth, and none of them report having had any issues of the sort you predict such as students complaining of harassment or boys attempting to gain fraudulent access, doesn’t the available data undermine your claims?”

    “Aren’t you being disingenuous when you imply that school policies on this subject don’t have any standards for identifying the legitimate trans child from the theoretical poser?”

    “How do you logically deny the legitimacy of the transgender condition given the verified existence of intersex conditions? Why is the brain immune from the same sort of divergent biological forces that can affect every other part of the human body?” (okay, that one is probably too technical for them)

    • It might be technical, but I love the way you framed that last question, focusing on genitalia ambiguities vs, brain ambiguities. It’s useful in general, even if it’s not in this case.

      Thanks to work of Zoe Brain, I’ve put together a large list of peer reviewed research papers on the evidence for a neurological basis of gender dysphoria, but this question goes further and brings up a very good point. Why one, but not the other?

      I’d add that as a follow up, if they do concede that point, asking “Given your answer, if this *is* nuerological as the evidence suggests, and especially since mental health treatment alone, including medications have proven ineffective in treating this condition, what do you propose we do for these individuals?”

  • I think you should use the word “LAWSUIT” repeatedly, over and over. Defamation, libel, slander,smear, child endangerment. Reckless, fanatical, obsessive, in whatever order. Don’t worry about representing the community, it’s really about a hate crime being perpetrated on a child.

    • As much as I can appreciate that, once Cristan uses that word, the interview will probably be over and further inquiries will be directed to PJI attorneys. That’s how most organizations respond to that word.

  • Pingback: YOUR HELP REQUESTED: HRC condemns fake trans harassment charges, ex-gay group dodges my fact checking, family & friends open up by Cristan October 18, 2013 | GENDERTRENDERS()

  • As I said previously, the coalition of TERF heavyweight and the most sordid politicos of the religious right was truly unholy. It was parralel universe stuff watching a transphobic lesbian separatist palling around with a fundie woman-hater, all based on their desire to ruin the lives of trans women. Utterly bizarre. And now that it’s been conceded that the entire event was a hoax, the sinister dimension of their alliance shows how truly despicable their amoral ideology really is. And, yes, I put ideology as a singular: they share a unified point of view in claiming to ‘defend’ women by *defining* them, according to their own solipsistic imposition.

    TIME AND TIME AGAIN, from mouths of Vigo, Burchill, and others, we’re told that the transsexual empire is a cabal of devious incitement. In the classic manouevre of double-portraying the other as devilishly powerful but disgustingly pathetic, they argue that trans women ‘silence’ dialogue and ‘erase’ women. That we, feminjas each and every one, plot and plan the destruction of Womanhood. We supposedly throw around death threats, are rapists in waiting, and have Illuminati potential to control the agenda on gender.

    The reality is this: one group faces constant death threats that actually come to regular fruition. The other group plays absolutely, utterly filthy games with the lives of children. I just hope, if anything comes out of this, cis feminists who have flirted with RadFem2014 philosophy might seriously consider what side they’re aligning themselves.

  • Jesus – outing a minor and exposing them to death threats. One hopes they never have children and should they – that no one takes such liberties with their safety.

    Awful excuses for human beings.

  • I’d like to know how the general public should be expected to accept anything they present as the truth when one tenant of their organization, conversion therapy, is widely disproved and demonstrably harmful. Is there interest in punishing children for not adhering to one particular set of beliefs?

    I’d like to know if they’re working with Cathy Brennan, does this mean they now support gay causes? Does this mean Brennan supports conversion therapy? What is the extent of their involvement? Has the Pacific Justice Institute contracted or otherwise paid Brennan for her services?

    I’d like to know how spreading lies and violent rhetoric about a minor accomplishes any of their goals. And how are they prepared to respond if (god forbid) this child is targeted for violence or even killed as a direct result of their libel?

  • “Could you please present the evidence that a student at Florence High School has complained about harassment?”

    And if they start talking about that one parent, reiterate the word “student.”