We neglected to follow up on this story from last week, in which 18-year-old Luke "Sasha" Fleischman was lit on fire aboard an AC Transit bus*. He was in the habit of wearing skirts to school and claimed a non-binary-gender identity, and he was attacked on his way home last Monday night. A 16-year-old who attended a different high school has been charged in the crime, which resulted in Fleischman suffering second- and third-degree burns.
Fleischman's classmates at Maybeck High School came to school on Friday all wearing skirts in a show of solidarity. Fleischman remains hospitalized and waiting skin-graft surgery.
As Debbie Fleischman, Sasha's mother told the Oakland Tribune, "My son considers himself agender. He likes to wear a skirt. It's his statement. That's how he feels comfortable dressing."
16-year-old Richard Thomas of Oakland High School has been charged with a hate crime and as an adult for the incident. Thomas allegedly boarded the 57 bus near his own school at 5:20 p.m. on November 4, saw Fleischman asleep near the back of the bus, and set his skirt on fire. Fleischman awoke and then tried unsuccessfully to extinguish the flames, and was assisted by other passengers.
A fundraising campaign to help Sasha's family fund his recovery and medical expenses succeeded last week in raising over $20,000.
* This post has been corrected to show that we did make an initial report on the incident prior to knowing any of the details about the victim.