PITTSBURGH — The phrase “Protect trans kids” is written on the signs that motivated a movement in the city’s North Side, and now after nearly two years of transphobic harassment, Sean O’ Donnell and husband Todd Collar said their 15-year-old daughter Ke’Juan Hall finally feels protected.
“Relief, vindication,” said Sean O’Donnell.
“We feel like we did something good, not just for ourselves, but for other people out there who may not have the same support system that our daughter has,” said O’Donnell.
On Tuesday, a judge found their neighbor Darian Balcom guilty and fined her $200 for placing a 9-foot sign outside of their transgender daughter’s bedroom window that read, “‘Transing’ kids is abuse and homophobia.”
“Accusing us of being abusive parents which is disgusting, and then also seemingly accusing us to gay men of being homophobic,” said O’Donnell.
That was the tipping point that prompted them to take public action with the “protect trans kids” campaign.
But it was the roughly two years of attacks like placing their home address online, social media posts, and more signs that prompted the family’s legal action.
“There’ll be a record of what happened and that there’ll be accountability,” said O’Donnell.
Accountability and acknowledgment are what 15-year-old Hall said she wanted in a letter written to the judge.
Her father Todd read the note for Channel 11 News.
“My name is Ke’Juan Hall, and I’m a proud black trans girl. I feel attacked and horrified by what my neighbor has done to me and my family,” wrote Hall.
While the family will still have Balcom as a neighbor, they said with more than 600 signs of support in and around their neighborhood, they will be OK.
“I think that is perhaps the best thing to come out of it that people are talking about an issue that is trying to be weaponized,” said O’Donnell.
The family said their lawyer plans to file for a permanent no-contact order.
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