While not unexpected, news of yet another legal hurdle for the O’Donnell-Collar family arrived with notification that their neighbor has appealed her conviction of harassment.
On July 26, 2022, District Magisterial Judge Duncan-Williams determined that 50-year-old Darian Balcom was guilty of one count of statutory harassment after two years of behavior targeting her next door neighbors, a queer multiracial family of two white gay male fathers and four teenagers. Balcom, an avowed TERF or trans-exclusionary radical feminist, had most recently posted a 9-foot handmade billboard in her own backyard, facing the window of the family’s 15-year-old Black teenaged transdaughter. The sign reads ‘Transing is Homophobia and Abuse.’
This gave the District Attorney’s office the push to file the statutory charge and after two appearances before Magisterial Judge Duncan-Williams, the guilty conviction was levied.
On August 22, Balcom filed an appeal. The next hearing on the matter will be Friday, November 4, 2022 at 8:30 AM in the Court of Common Pleas before Judge Wrenna Watson. The family is requesting support at the hearing with more information expected as the date nears.
The O’Donnell-Collar family issued a statement:
“We anticipated that this matter would be appealed and we look forward to watching our neighbor lose a second time. Thank you to everyone who has supported our family and the #ProtectTransKids yard sign campaign. We hope that you will continue to proudly display your yard signs through the fall months.”
Balcom also faces multiple civil harassment charges from the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission stemming from her conduct toward multiple members of the family and may face other civil charges as well.
Meanwhile, the community has responded by continuing to plant yard signs reading ‘Protect Trans Kids’ signs throughout the region, over 600 since late June. The effort has expanded to include 3×4 stickers also available by request. Organizers, Pittsburgh LGBTQ Charities, made the items available at no charge, but do accept donations to cover production and postage costs. Signs cost approximately $12/each and stickers are $1/each. Plans are underway to distribute signs throughout rural regions and to offer stickers to local schools, colleges, and universities along with public libraries and other youth oriented projects. Anyone may request these items. Signs must be picked up or delivered. Stickers can be mailed via USPS.
Request a sign AND stickers bit.ly/ProtectsTransKidsSigns
Donations can be made via
- GoFundMe bit.ly/YardSignsFund **Preferred
- Venmo @PittsburghLGBTQ
- Paypal bit.ly/PayPalPLC **Preferred
- Checks made payable to ‘Pittsburgh LGBTQ Charities’ and mailed to 1439 W. North Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15233.
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