Restoring your faith in humanity: supporting Jane Doe

Before PJI: Jane Doe (front row, middle) with school friends.
Before PJI: Jane Doe (front row, middle) with school friends.

The Pacific Justice Institute (PJI) is the ex-gay organization who claimed that a trans kid (who I refer to as Jane Doe) in Colorado was harassing cisgender girls in the restrooms. Media outlets published PJI’s story without fact checking their claims, prompting members of the right-wing community to call for the death of Jane Doe. While PJI’s claims were proven false, the public animosity PJI inspired by and focused on Jane took its toll. Jane Doe was placed on a suicide watch.

Between the near suicide of Jane and the reality of being degraded in the media by a well-funded, media savvy anti-trans group, the stress was taking its toll upon Jane’s family.

But the you, dear reader, came along.

You took action. People from across the globe sent letters, cards and postcards to Jane Doe. You took it upon yourself to send her supportive thoughts and heartfelt posts encouraging her to not give in to the hate PJI was focusing on her. You let her know that she wasn’t alone.

A GoFundMe campaign was created to help the family cope with the added medical care costs. Initially the goal was to raise $500 because the family’s finances were stretched to the limit. Many of you stepped up the the plate and gave what you could and within the first 24 hours, $2,475 had been raised and several of you were requesting that the fundraising goal be lifted. When it was all said and done, $3,692 was raised:

GoFundMe Results

Letters continue to come in for Jane on a daily basis:

People being awesome!
People being awesome!

PJI got exactly the opposite of what they expected. They expected to be able to isolate this trans kid, destroy her personhood in the international media and enjoy bullying the child without encountering any significant push-back. Instead, they encountered you.

They encountered a town who embraced Jane Doe:

Decorating town cars to support Jane Doe
Decorating town cars to support Jane Doe

They found a High School full of students who supported Jane. Students created a group to support her and when students were interviewed by the press, time and again they supported Jane Doe. On top of that, parents voiced their support of Jane.

Most recently, PJI created a fundraising video featuring individuals who were, according to PJI, subject to police investigation for their cyber bullying of Jane. I’m certain PJI expected their YouTube video – featuring parents they had scared into being terrified of trans kids – to turn the tide in their favor. Instead, the video was inundated with dowvotes. With more than 1000 downvotes, PJI disabled voting on their video.

PJI had previously announced that it would force the issue at the next school board meeting. It was reported that PJI had contacted the school board in order to be put on their agenda. Well, the agenda is out and you know what? PJI isn’t on it.

Here’s a sampling of the love you sent Jane’s way:

  • “Please hang in there little sister. You have a lot out here who love and care about you.”
  • “You are worth every ounce of love and support there is…and no one has a right to tell you otherwise. Stay strong and know you are not alone in this.”
  • “Do NOT let anyone else control your life, the only one who knows what is right for you is YOU. We have a right to be happy too.”
  • “Love from the UK, these hateful people have decided to target you for whatever strange reasons, but remember they don’t know you, your family, the truth of your life.”
  • “Try and listen to the voices of those who love you more than those who know nothing of love. And listen to your own voice and your own strength.”
  • “Just let your light and beauty shine and realize that you have far more supporters than the haters ever will.”
  • “We are all with you! We are going to fight with you! You are a smart, beautiful young lady and you can beat these clowns. Listen to them! They ARE clowns! Please stay strong.”
  • “Hey little sister, I am so sorry that these hateful, felt it was ok to harm you. It is not. Know little sister that you have a family of MILLIONS willing to stand up for you. They crossed a very serious line.”
  • “A message to the lass who is getting attacked by the hateful bigots: Live your life, lass, keep your head high and don’t let the bigots destroy you; don’t let them bring you down. You have done nothing wrong, it’s the ignorant fools who are attacking you and who are desperate to prevent progress who are the ones doing wrong.”
  • “You are beautiful. You are not in the wrong. Please, don’t let the actions and words small-minded jackholes define you. Stay strong, young one, and know you are loved, even by strangers, and your courage is an inspiration.”

And there was so much more support that poured in. To each one of you who stepped up and stood up for Jane Doe, I personally thank you!

Proof of donation: Jane Doe's mom receives check.
Proof of donation: Jane Doe’s mom receives check.

I would like to thank each and every one of our supporters from the bottom of my heart.

Each and every one you is a blessing.   

– Jane Doe’s mom

You helped make the world a little less shitty for a girl and her family who were being destroyed by one juggernaut of a bully.

You are what stands between PJI’s hate and a girl and her family.

Thank you for choosing to care, to act and to advocate!

Cristan Williams is a trans historian and pioneer in addressing the practical needs of underserved communities. She started the first trans homeless shelter in Texas and co-founded the first federally funded housing-first homeless program, pioneered affordable health care 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. She has published short stories, academic chapters and papers, and numerous articles for both print and digital magazines. She received numerous awards for her advocacy and has presented at universities throughout the nation, served on several governmental committees and CBO boards, is the Editor of the TransAdvocate, and is a founding board member of the Transgender Foundation of America and the Bee Busy Wellness Center.