Michigan Gender Bullying Law Covers Transgender People, Appeals Court Says


FILE – Generic hammer on wooden table.

A Michigan law that prohibits gender-based bullying covers transgender people, the state Court of Appeals said Thursday.

The court ruled in the case of a transgender woman who was shot in the shoulder after being confronted by a man at a gas station in Detroit.

The man “harassed and intimidated the complainant because of his gender. He showed her a loaded gun and threatened to kill her, making her fear for her life,” said judges Michael Gadola and James Redford.

Michigan law criminalizes malicious harassment of another person based on their race, color, religion, gender, or national origin. Another factor to consider is physical contact.

Deonton Rogers’ alleged actions were “based on gender in the ‘traditional’ sense of that term, and harassing someone on the basis of their male sex – whether perceived or real – is prohibited by law”, the court said.

Judge Deborah Servitto wrote a separate concurring opinion. The court reinstated an ethnic intimidation charge against Rogers.

“This is a huge victory for the protection of the transgender community,” said Wayne County District Attorney Kym Worthy.

Defense lawyer David Cripps said he is reviewing the decision and considering next steps.

Rogers had won an earlier appeal court decision. But the Michigan Supreme Court asked the court to reconsider the case, following a 2020 U.S. Supreme Court opinion on job protection for gay and transgender people.

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