Eye on the Media: Pacific Justice Institute continues to bully transgender teenager

Increased transgender protections will likely capture media attention, especially with California's School Success and Opportunity Act, or AB1266, getting national coverage. When reporting on this law and related transgender stories, it is absolutely critical that journalist provide audiences with the proper context and background information. 

Efforts by the Pacific Justice Institute to defame and harass a transgender high school girl in Colorado has gone to a new low.  The organization concocted a story about Jane Doe (the young lady's name has not been made public for her own protection) harassing other girls in the school. When fact-checkers found that there was no harassment, the Pacific Justice Institute insisted that her presence is an inherent threat to her classmates. She has been misgendered, slandered and ultimately bullied by the Pacific Justice Institute.

When Florence High school ignored their unfounded claims and they received considerable push back from LGBT and media advocates for their made story, Brad Dacus, Executive Director of PJI, made a video titled, Teenage Girls Victim of Boy Using Their Bathroom Speak Out. Doubling down on their propaganda, PJI's video framed the story to look as if Jane Doe was making it unsafe for other girls at the school, with no evidence. The public slandering has resulted in severe emotional stress, and Jane Doe is now under suicide watch. She and her family have endured death threats. PJI is still relentless and zealous in its pursuit to take away this young lady's right to access the correct restroom.

Background:

  • Pacific Justice Institue, a right wing legal defense organization, distributed a press release with a completely fabricated story about a young transgender gilr sexually harassing other girls in the restroom. They stated that they were contacted by irate parents were concerned that the girls' constitutional right to privacy and freedom of speech were being infringed upon. They accused Florence HIgh School of threatening students with being kicked off schoo athletic teams or charged with hate crimes
  • Cristan Williams, founder of Transadvocate.com spoke with the superintendent of Florence High School, Rhonda Vendetti and published an audio recording of the conversation in whch Vendetti confirmed that no such harassment had ever been reported
  • Many news outlets and organizations ran the story, only having to retract it later as false. The story was broken by the Christian Broadcast Network then picked up by the Daily Mail. Fox News and the Examiner. Fox News never retracted the story. 
  • As a result of this harassment, Jane Doe is on suicide watch and has received numerous death threats.
  • Brad Dacus, Executive Director of Pacific Justice Institute, has a history of saying extreme and derogatory things about LGBT people. His full profile is available on GLAAD's Commentator Accountabilty Project

GLAAD is not only concerned with the misinformtion and misgendering but also the subsequent threat of violence and instigation of vile transphobia. Pacific Justice Institute is under the impression that being transgender is inherently threatening. Of course, this couldn't be further fro the truth. Being transgender is a legitimate identity that should be respected.

It's imperative that media outlets fact check any and all stories coming from the Pacific Justice Institute as well as any claims being made about transgender youth sexually harassing other youths in school facilities. Also, GLAAD has a media reference guide available to journalists reporting on transgender issues. 

There are many writers, advocates and legal professionals who are familiar with this ongoing issue involving PJI and should be contacted for more information.

Cristan Williams – Transadvocate.com

Autumn Sandeen- Transadvocate.com

Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund

Transgender Law Center.

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