A New Orleans pastor is in hot water after allegedly pulling a gun on a transgender sex worker in late November. Wilfred Brown pastor at Evariste Temple Church of God in Christ was arrested on November 20th after the sexual tryst went wrong. Authorities charged Brown with illegally pointing a pistol at Kourtney Smalls as well as soliciting a prostitute.
According to an article in the New Orleans Advocate, Brown and Smalls met on November 20th. Police investigating the case believe Brown picked Smalls up at 10:30 pm. The state trooper report said Brown stopped near an intersection and solicited Smalls to engage in a sexual act.
Shortly after Smalls entered the car, Smalls told police that Brown put on a condom. Brown then initiated the sexual act with her. According to Smalls, the incident went south when Brown realized that she was a transgender woman.
In the police report presenting in court, Smalls told authorities that Brown chased her down the street at gunpoint in a fit of rage. While Smalls ran for her life, she called 911 and asked for help.
Police made contact with Smalls, and they took her side of the story. Shortly after talking with Smalls, police pulled Brown over as he left the area.
When police approached the vehicle, authorities found Brown’s pants unzipped. They located an empty condom wrapper outside of the parked car. Authorities also found a bottle Viagra in Brown’s back-pocket.
Naturally, Brown’s recollection of the events starkly contrasted Smalls’ account. Brown said that he picked up Smalls to offer her a ride because of the cold temperatures outside. Brown told the Advocate he only planned to have a conversation with Smalls.
According to Brown, everything went wrong when Smalls forcibly reached into his front pocket and stole a wad of cash. Brown said Smalls took around $370.00. After Smalls robbed and punched him, Brown said he pulled the gun out to defend himself.
After taking accounts from both individuals, police arrested them both for their roles in the incident. Police charged Brown with aggravated assault and soliciting a prostitute. Authorities charged Smalls with simple robbery. Both were taken to the station and booked on November 20th.
Brown immediately posted a $500 bond and was released until his court date. Smalls remains in jail due to a probation violation for a 2015 conviction on four charges of simple robbery.
Despite the evidence against him, Brown told the Advocate that he would sue “if necessary” for the false accusations made by Smalls. He insists that because he has diabetes and has high blood pressure, he would never solicit a prostitute.
“I’m a diabetic and have high blood pressure. I’m not going to do something like that,” Brown said.
Smalls’ arrest for her part in the dispute highlights a massive issue faced by transgender people. The National Transgender Discrimination Survey completed in 2008-2009 examined the experiences of over 6,800 transgender people.
The survey found that transgender people face high levels of discrimination in every area of life. Additionally, the NTDS survey concluded transgender people face high levels of poverty, homelessness, unemployment, negative interactions with police, incarceration, and violent victimization.
As a result of their discrimination, many transgender men and women end up working in the sex industry to make money. Of those surveyed, 69% of transgender sex workers said adverse job outcomes in the traditional workforce forced them into the sex industry.
The most common adverse job outcome was being denied or fired from a job because of their gender identity. As a result of the bias faced in the workplace, NTDS found that these individuals were three times more likely to become sex workers.Additionally, the NTDS found that transgender people were more likely to be arrested by police for “being trans.” Individuals surveyed reported they faced discrimination by police and judges.
As if the job prospects and discrimination weren’t bad enough, the Trump administration has been working vigilantly to strip transgender people of their rights since taking office in 2016.
Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions released a memo in 2017 stating that transgender people are no longer protected against workplace discrimination by existing civil rights laws. There are no current laws that protect transgender people from workplace discrimination.
Smalls arrest and criminal history are in line with the data collected by NTDS. Due to Smalls inability to secure employment, she became a sex worker to make money.
Brown’s assault and the threat of physical violence against her is, unfortunately, the norm for transgender sex workers. While Brown walks free after pointing a gun at a woman, Smalls sits behind bars.
Both of them will face the court in the future to defend the charges against them. Brown will stand behind his job as a pastor to convince every one of his character and overall goodness while Smalls will be vilified for working in the only field that allows her to earn money.
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