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Watch: Trans Woman, Partner Say Bullet Smashed Their Window

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Friday October 30, 2020

Jay Morelli and Amy Russell
Jay Morelli and Amy Russell  (Source:Screecap/WOOD TV 8)

A transgender woman and her partner living in Allendale, Michigan, say they think it was a bullet that shattered one of their windows. It's the latest in a string of attacks on their home and property, reports local NBC affiliate Wood TV 8.

Jady Morelli and Amy Russell say they heard the window break at about 5 pm on Oct. 26. That's when they saw what looked like a bullet hole through their window screen and a fist-sized hole punched through the glass pane.

Yahoo! News reports that "The Ottawa County Sheriff's Office confirmed that it was investigating the matter, but suggested that target practice is not uncommon in the rural area."

But Jady Morelli told the news station that the home she shares with Amy Russell has been targeted by vandals for several years, commencing after she first hung the trans flag that flies in her yard. In a string of destructive incidents, shutters painted in the colors of the transgender flag have been ripped off the couple's house, damaging the brick walls of the house, the flag itself has been torn in half, and a mailbox the women built for an elderly neighbor and placed in their own yard for convenience was destroyed.

The couple's yard also sports signs supportive of Joe Biden and other Democratic political candidates, the news station noted.

Morelli said the attacks on their property, which seem calculated to intimidate the couple, are "a hard thing to go through."

"This is assault," Russell said of the projectile that was fired through their window, "and it could have killed someone."

"It just brings it right home that there are people out there who want to hurt you for who you are," Morelli said.

But she also said she's not about to retreat from what she characterized as expressions of support for other LGBTQ people in the area. Despite the acts of property damage targeting their home, Morelli and Russell have installed new shutters, painted once again in the colors of the trans flag, and replaced the banner that vandals destroyed.

"Going to elementary, middle, and high school, I can't remember volunteering another LGBT person," Morelli told WOOD TV. "Not a single out gay or lesbian person, and certainly no trans people."

Russell agreed, saying that local LGBTQ people "need to know that they're not alone."

"Honestly it's not about cis people," Russell said of the couple's visible signs of support. "It's for other trans people, especially trans kids in this community."

Reaching for Morelli's hand, Russell added: "Jady grew up knowing what it's like to feel alone."

"I think flying a trans flag and having shutters painted in trans colors are a good way. It's not much, but it's something I can do for people who are closeted" in their community, Morelli said. "And they see that and they go, 'There's somebody like me in this community.' "

Watch the Wood TV 8 news clip below.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.

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