The Oakland/Berkeley community are reaching out to show support for Luke “Sasha” Fleischman, the “agendered” 18-year old who was set on fire , allegedly by another teen, while sleeping on an Oakland bus earlier this week. Fleischman’s father, Karl, is a kindergarten teacher at Sequoia Elementary School in Oakland, and parents and teachers there are going around the neighborhood and tying rainbow colored ribbons (LGBT colored ribbons, right?) at bus stops on the route of the 57, the bus Fleischman was riding when the attack happened.
Fleischman, who attends Maybeck High School in Berkeley, is also a member of the community at St. Paul Lutheran Church, just blocks from where the incident happened. Community members there are brainstorming ways to show their suppport for Fleischman and for gender diversity.
An online fund-raising drive to help with medical bills, raised $21,000 in hours before the family asked for donations to cease. More than 748 people have viewed links to the donor drive, more than 300 have left comments, and 541 people contributed.
While the comments on CBS News, which ran an early story, are generally negative, expressing views like “Neither male or female, but a non gender, so what is it really???” and “He’s gay and we all know it. That would be simple enough to understand. The skirt and the activist stuff is all fluff to give his young mind time to “find himself” I wonder if we will ever find a genetic link to this mental disorder;” comments on the donation site are, not surprisingly, overwhelmingly supportive, and include “You’re a brave individual, stay strong and encouraged by your drive for the future and support. You are an inspiration and example to us all” and “Sasha, stay strong and know you have a community who will keep hoping, loving, working, and fighting for and with you.”