A teenager has been fined for abusing a transgender police community support officer by yelling: “Is it a boy or is it a girl?”
Declan Armstrong, 19, was ordered to pay £590 at Mold Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday after he was found guilty of making the comments following a trial.
Rhian Jackson, prosecuting, said PCSO Connor Freel had been in uniform on foot patrol in Mold, north Wales, in October 2019 when he passed Armstrong, who was with a friend.
She told the court that Armstrong shouted “very loudly, “is it a boy or is it a girl?” and said that when Mr Freel looked over, Armstrong made the comment loudly again.
Ms Jackson said: “Due to his transgender, when Connor heard Declan say what he said, it left him feeling upset and embarrassed.”
She read out a statement from Mr Freel, who was born female and transitioned, which went over his work to raise awareness of transphobic hate crime, including being part of a victim support campaign and television interviews.
He said he knew there could be repercussions by being in the public eye but had wanted to show vulnerable people that being transgender is not something to be hidden. However, he said that after this incident he was reluctant to patrol alone.
“To have something shouted at him that had such personal connotations whilst he was on his own in the middle of a public place, that was rather busy due to market day footfall, did leave him vulnerable, distressed and embarrassed,” Ms Jackson said.
Armstrong, of Victory Court, Mold, was convicted of a public order offence after a trial but has continued to deny he made the comments, and his defence lawyer Gary Harvey said he “doesn’t hold any prejudice against anyone in society”.
READ MORE YAHOO UK NEWS HERE:
The court was told that Armstrong is a carer for a man he considers his father, was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome and suffered from anxiety and depression.
Armstrong has also been given a 12-week curfew besides the £590 he has been ordered to pay.
Mr Freel has previously spoken of the abuse hurled his way, starting with bullies at his school when he came out as transgender aged 15.
He was physically and verbally harmed by pupils and had a rock thrown at his face from a car. When he left school and began working at McDonald’s, he was taunted by customers and he would get attacked at the pub.
He went on to study criminology and criminal justice at Glyndwr University, Wrexham, and then joined North Wales Police.
He said in October 2018: “I was born female but from my earliest memories and before I could even talk I knew I was a boy in the wrong body.
“I told my parents when I was a small child that I was a boy.
“However, I was brought up as a girl and began to transition to male when I was around 15.
“I went to my parents and explained to them how I felt and they couldn’t have been more supportive.
“In fact they basically knew and had been waiting for me to tell them.
“I came out first as being gay and got a bit of abuse for that and I almost didn't want to come out as transgender.”