Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) met in room 405 on Thursday, November 14 to create posters in support of an asexual Oakland teen who was severely injured in an apparent hate crime on November 4. The club’s aim is to raise school awareness about hate crimes.
“[We] want people to be more aware of anti-LGBTQ attacks,” GSA president junior Sasha Sobol said. “[So] we’re making posters to raise awareness.”
Eighteen-year-old Sasha Fleischman, who identifies as neither male or female, suffered second and third-degree burns when a 16-year-old teenager set Fleischman’s skirt on fire as Fleischman slept on an AC transit bus in Oakland. Fleischman is currently recovering in a San Francisco burn center.
Sobol and two other GSA members spent their lunchtime making three posters to hang up around the school. The posters included information about the attack and wrote messages such as “Hate crimes do happen”.
“The posters are there to…let people know [that the attack] happened and that in general, hate crimes can happen wherever,” Sobol said. “It’s particularly important because [Sasha Fleischman] identifies as [asexual], and gender nonconforming youth are oftentimes subject to harassment and discrimination.”
Sobol notes that the club also hopes to break the common misconception that hate crimes don’t occur in certain communities.
“A lot of the time, people have this notion that bad things only happen in some places,” Sobol said. “This is an example that happened fairly close [to our community] to an [asexual] person.”
Sobol hopes to hang up the posters by Monday in order to spread awareness of the issue as soon as possible.
“Hate crimes are ugly…and it’s important to bring attention to them,” Sobol said.