PA’s Hate-Crime Law Still Leaves Many Groups Out
Jane’s whole life has been like one long hate crime.
As a teenager, her classmates beat her to a pulp because she shaved her legs. Her family believed that praying would cure what the belt didn’t.
Jane was born a man. Today, she is a woman.
Jane, a transgender woman, asked PublicSource not to use her name because of fear that she might be targeted. She completed her transition from male to female in rural Pennsylvania about two years ago.
“You start to hate yourself,” said Jane, 59, who is tall, with fair skin and a quiet, even voice. The color on her cheekbones matched her rose-colored sweater, with three pearl buttons dotting the collar.
Jane said she was raped in March of this year, targeted because she is transgender. She did not report the rape to police.
“All these incidents are crimes,” Jane said. “And it was all because of who I was.”
The problems Jane describes are often labeled hate crimes -- criminal offenses against a person or group because of a bias. But Pennsylvania is one of 15 states that exclude sexual orientation and gender identity in its definition, according to the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.