Classmates of Burned Oakland Teen Wear Skirts To Show Support And Solidarity

Skirts for Sasha

The classmates of Luke "Sasha" Fleischman, the Oakland 18-year-old who was set on fire on Monday by a homophobic teen, as well as some of the staff of Maybeck High School in Berkeley showed solidarity for the recovering student by showing up for school on Friday in skirts

SashaAccording to other students, skirts were the article of clothing that Fleischman typically enjoyed wearing as a part of his "agender" orientation – that is, he doesn't identify on the male/female gender binary – as well as being the clothing he was wearing that prompted the attack.

In addition to donning Fleischman's favorite attire, the school planned to have a photo shoot on Friday during lunch of everyone in their skirs – or kilts, or sarongs, or lava-lavas – that would be then sent to him in the hospital, where he is presently recovering from second- and third-degree burns along his legs that will require massive skin grafts.

16-year-old Richard Thomas of Oakland High School has been charged as an adult with hate crimes in the attack and has yet to enter a plea as the family takes the time granted them by a judge to hire a lawyer.


  1. Peter says

    Thanks to flawed syntax of the first sentence of this post, you make it sound as though the teachers in this student’s school are also responsible for setting his dress on fire.

  2. Grant says

    This is exactly the type of story we should be used to reading..a school that stands behind their own supports each other..Im so tired of the stories of individuals choosing to be their own person and then being dismissed or like the original story being harmed in some way e it emotionally or physically..what is wrong with our world when we raise children to “be their own person” but then hurt.them or.put them.down for those very actions..I really cant tell if the world is becoming an easier or harder place to live..if its not one problem its always another..
    best wishes to the school and everyone involved..the criminal who did this should be punished severally

  3. Mike Ryan says

    There has been a lot of publicity about this case and we now know that Sasha is a straight A student, is very well liked by his classmates and that the sixteen year old is African American and will be tried as an adult. It is being treated as a hate crime and if convicted the young man will automatically receive three additional years to his sentence.

  4. MIke says

    This should be interesting to watch as I just read that the prosecutors claim the 16 year old said “I’m homophobic” and his family and lawyer are saying no way in hell did he volunteer that.

  5. Chuck says

    Great for the support, but would love if the author would rework that first paragraph! If you’re readying quickly, it almost reads that the teen was set on fire by boy the “homophobic teen, as well as some of the staff”.

  6. Jonna the Woodswoman says

    What a sad story. I would wager money the kid who lit him on fire has parents that go to one of the churches in East Oakland.

    Wise decision, kid, now you’ve thrown your life away. I’m sorry to say this happened down the street from me. Sashas’ mother is a teacher at my local elementary school.

    What a shame.

  7. FixTheSentence says

    I think all the teachers and school staff members who set that poor boy on fire should lose their jobs IMMEDIATELY!

  8. SalvadorDemilo says

    Somebody should take Richard Thomas, douse his legs with gasoline, and set them on fire before he has the chance to be tried in court. An eye for an eye is all anti-gays and their sympathizers will understand.

  9. says

    Bet if the fire starter has desire to run for politician this will bite him in the butt like Romney with his psycho bullying path of holding kids down and cutting off their hair. Bet his parents are “God-Fearing” Christians who seem to forget it was not the “main stream” types that helped them stop being lynched!

  10. Robroberts says

    For some reason this story makes me especially sad. There is so much hate and intolerance n this world. What could POSSIBLY justify lighting someone on fire dor the crime of being who they are? There is so much hate and evil in this act — I sincerely wish the young attacker the death sentence or at least a prompt shanking in jail. Good riddance.

  11. Mike says

    What BS. Half the people in that photo are adults, not his classmates. Half are female, so it is hardly a huge statement if they wear dresses. There’s only a few male teens in that photo and one is wearing a kilt and the others are wearing dresses over their pants, which means they probably took dresses of right after the pic was taken.

    We all agree that the attack was criminal and wrong, but there is no reason to pretend that the victim’s male classmates are celebrating his failure at manhood.

  12. Jonna the Woodswoman says

    Mike, dear, if failure at manhood was your only failure, you’d be fortunate. You are a bilious coward who only offers invective and an acidic tongue. What a pathetic coward you are.

  13. ratbastard says

    Too funny. Berkeley? Really? The most politically correct, ‘progressive’, city in America? What are they going to do, INCREASE the PC education in the high school?

    I hope the young man/woman wasn’t badly hurt and recovers. And no, I’m not being sarcastic.

    Anybody who doesn’t think this incident occurring in Berkeley is strange is disingenuous or ignorant of Berkeley.

  14. ratbastard says

    Incident occurred in Oakland. Will there you go. Now I understand. Sasha should have realized there’s a big difference between a HS in Berkeley, and a transit bus in Oakland, and Oakland and Berkeley are two different worlds. His mom / parent(s) should know this simple fact,too.

    I”m sorry he has serious injuries and hope he recovers OK.

  15. Ames says

    Towleroad – get it right. Learn how to talk about someone using THEIR gender expression and don’t decide for them. I can’t believe you folks still don’t get it. Ridiculous to use male pronouns while including the information that the victim DOES NOT IDENTIFY AS MALE.

  16. says

    Shining brilliance. More and more young people don’t give a flying f**k about the antiquated ideologies of gender-norms and expressions of self, and I truly hope Sasha feels the love.

    For every cowardly closeted internet troll screaming impotent rage about trans issues, and gender issues, and those who defy societal norms, there will always be the bright shining stars who refuse to hate and discriminate, who will stand in solidarity with those made to feel outcast.

    Well done, students. You’re golden.

  17. Rich says

    What a terrible hate crime. I can think of no worse pain than being burned. Although I’m glad to see the people from his school standing up to support him, it is horrible that this type of thing happens.
    The perpetrator should get the highest sentence possible.