Charges Reduced Against Lesbian Teen Cheyenne Williams’ Accused Attackers

CHEYENNE WILLIAMS:

Judge reduces charges against teens accused of attacking gay classmate: Cheyenne Williams, the lesbian teen in Kentucky who was attacked by three of her friends on the Day of Silence (against LGBT bullying), went to court today, where Ashley Sams & Corinne Schwab & their unnamed 17-year-old friend, saw charges reduced against them.

The presiding Judge said the evidence did not justify the charges of kidnapping and attempted murder and reduced the charges to fourth-degree assault and menacing (both misdemeanors).

Williams’ mother says the other girls targeted Williams because of her sexuality but the judge said that the attack was not a hate crime. Sams and Schwab’s attorneys claimed that the attack was a performance which Williams willingly participated in. There is a video of the event from Williams’ cellphone.

Williams herself has not testified, but she was sworn in so that means she might be.

A grand jury can now consider the case and issue new charges or decline to indict. The next grand jury session in Jackson County is scheduled for Tuesday.

About three dozen kids skipped class to show up, saying they were there in support of Cheyenne as well as Sams & Schawb.

GAY IPHONE APP:

Apple has just rejected, for the second time, the iPhone app “Gay New York: 101 Can’t-Miss Places. The company objected to images that show too much skin, and to a caricature of former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin. (@gawker)

FEMINISM:

Salon has an interview with J. Courtney Sullivan, editor of a new collection “Click: When We Knew We Were Feministswhich features thirty feminists under 40 talking about their own epiphanies, prompted by everything from rape to ADHD, from bad sex education programs to Kurt Cobain’s suicide. (@salon)

In an odd coincidence for real, Autostraddle.com’s newest Roundtable is about when we knew we were feminists!

DISNEY SWITCHES GENDER ROLES:

Today, after school, girls across the land will log on to Pixie Hollow, one of Disney’s most popular Web sites, and become boys. Not just boys. Fairies who are boys.

The open secret around the Hollow has long been that if you make your fairy tall, with short hair, and give her an ambiguous name like Jamie, she can pretty quickly establish a reputation as a he. Hey, Mom and Dad, we’ve got your rigid gender roles right here. (@salon)

DC MAYOR:

Somehow the city of DC decided to issue a certificate of honor for a leader of the ex-gay movement. D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty apologized Thursday over his decision to issue a certificate of appreciation honoring the leader of the ex-gay movement, which believes homosexuals can be rehabilitated. Mafara Hobson, a Fenty spokeswoman, called Griggs’ award a “staff-level error.” (@washington voices)

RACE:

Does Gossip Have a Skin Color? “Black blogs cover a far more diverse range of stories than the rest of the media. Just ask Sandra Bullock … The funny thing is, black Web sites such as MediaTakeOut.com, Bossip, and Young, Black and Fabulous have been following Bullock for years. Part of the reason is her connection to the black community. “They know about her support for victims of Katrina and Haiti so they care about what happens to her, which we thought about when we gave her coverage,” says Fred Mwangaguhunga, owner of the black entertainment site MediaTakeOut.com.” (@newsweek)

TRANS:

How do you know you’re not trans? “Transgender folks spend a lot of time explaining our identities to other people, and a lot more time being asked to explain how we knew we were trans. But, for myself and my trans friends I’ve talked about this with, we’re baffled by the idea of knowing that the gender you were assigned at birth matches, at least closely enough, the gender you identify as. To experience gender in this way baffles us just as much as I imagine transgender experience confuses cisgender folks.” (@feministing)

COMING OUT:

When I Came Out: Three Girls Tell Their Stories About Being Gay In College (@jezebel)

WOMEN CEOS:

Women account for only 3% of the chief executives at the helm of the 500 biggest U.S. companies. (@forbes)

LESBIAN TEACHER:

Lesbian teacher claims she was fired from elite Vancouver Catholic girls’ school Reimer, the founder of Vancouver’s Zing! Children’s Choir, said she was fired because parents were afraid she would lead their daughters “astray.” However the school claims she’s making the whole thing up and was totally not fired at all. (@the province)

Riese is the 37-year-old CEO, CFO and Editor-in-Chief of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, blogger, fictionist, copywriter, video-maker, low-key Jewish power lesbian and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and then headed West. Her work has appeared in nine books including "The Bigger the Better The Tighter The Sweater: 21 Funny Women on Beauty, Body Image & Other Hazards Of Being Female," magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 2817 articles for us.

18 Comments

  1. Yes. Of course it was staged. That’s why she pressed charges — for the attention. I feel like there’s something I’m missing here as to why the defending attorneys are pushing this story? I’m interested to hear Williams’ testimony.

    Loved the trans piece! It’s a great look at gender identity, and it allowed me to reflect on my gender id in a whole new way. Like, how I’ve always been cisgendered, and that wanting to be a boy when I was younger was more about wanting to be free of the social constructs of gender as opposed to the biological ones.

  2. Im not actually massively surprised about the teacher being fired from the Catholic school. Here it’s actually law that a school can fire someone if they dont fit the “ethos” of the school they teach in, so hence if someone is fired for being gay the gay person who was fired cant dispute it in the courts, they must just accept it. It’s ridiculous, my friend who’s a secondary/high school teacher even had to create a fake Facebook profile of some guy and say ‘he’ was her boyfriend just to get people off her case. Why oh why is there no separation of church and state here, it’s embarassing at the stage!!

      • This happened in Canada. Canadian religious schools can discriminate in hiring based on religious beliefs and they can have their teachers sign “lifestyle” contracts. Not even joking! My friend had to leave the Christian-protestant high school she was teaching at when she moved in with her boyfriend for that reason. IRONICALLY she went and worked at the Catholic school mentioned in the article. Hmmm…wtf.

    • Well, the separation of church and state wouldn’t necessarily apply here, because Catholic schools aren’t government-funded. I guess it would depend on the workplace discrimination laws?

      I went to a Catholic school in a very red state all my life, but surprisingly, it really wasn’t awful — we put on the first production of The Laramie Project in our state! And at least one of our teachers was gay. He wasn’t out persay, but it was an open secret. But there was a rule that if a student got an abortion, she would be expelled. And when we asked how, exactly, would the school know, I remember one of the priests giving some weird answer that was along the lines of, “People talk.” So, you know, there’s that.

      • Yeah it probably doesnt apply to this case. But then again, when the church dictates law as it does here then there is no separation of the two. Like it was the church who lobbied for the law that says they can fire people based on sexual orientation, it should be the state that dictates what laws are brought in and adhered to, not the church. Well I mean that applies in this country, oh, I dont know what im trying to say really, maybe i’ll be able to articulate my point later!

    • but here’s the thing about separation of church and state, of which i am of course a BIG proponent (and which btw i’m a little confused about your reference to it in your comment, but aside from that)

      The main point of the religious element in the first amendment was purely to keep religious influence out of the running of the state, and that the state won’t prohibit or interfere with the practice of faith. So just as we shouldn’t have the church mucking around in the affairs of the state – ie, the theoligical dictating the terms of the political, I don’t really think the state should have any say in matters of the church. Religion is exclusionary by its nature. It’s called conversion for a reason; you change to fall in line, for better or worse. If you don’t want to be subjected to a certain denomination’s discriminatory practices, then there are plenty of other options.

      I’m not defending the religious element on this one at all, I mean it’s bad enough the church already interferes with access to abortion, among other things. I’m just saying it’s a pretty simple line of demarcation.

      • I agree. I don’t think is a separation of church actually applies here. I think it is a weird and unfortunate move by the school for a number of reasons, but it’s not a church and state issue at all.

  3. My friend used to teach at Little Flower Academy, the school the teacher was fired from, and they had no problem with her and her boyfriend living together despite that also being what the Catholic church considers a “sin.”

    On that, Little Flower isn’t really a Catholic school. Like it is sort of it I guess in name, but really it’s just an uber expensive Vancouver private school and not religious at all. I know this because aforementioned friend taught there and she told me this and she also is so totally not catholic in any sort of a way and no one had a problem with her teaching there while being non-catholic and living with her boyfriend.

    So in so many ways I don’t know what the eff what happened there at LFA. If it makes anyone feel better, my basketball team beat there basketball team in a big high school game once so there’s that.

  4. there’s something inherently weird about this Cheyenne Williams story. Almost like bad cinema. Still working out the details before making any real judgement calls but… off a cliff? really? Seems like a pretty theatric way to murder your friend, but I guess you can’t really bludgeon someone to death with a bible and still make it look like an accident.

  5. I just made a fairy on that Disney site. Milkweed Flickerbead (yes, made from a name generator with limited options) just picked up some blueberries and them in a pouch. Oooh I’m asking Tinker Bell for a quest. This is so fun, guys!

    When I signed up, I had to input my age. I was honest. But in the drop-down, it started at 2. 2!

  6. Not to be juvenile/inappropes, but:

    Milkweed Flickerbead=”flick-her-bead”

    And this was generated by Disney?? Sounds gay to me. Must be made by the same guys who gave the priest a boner in the little mermaid…

    • Yea, for the last name, you choose two parts. Granted, I scanned the options looking for ways to make it inappropriate, I think Flicker+bead was probably not the most inappropes possibility.

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