By Jody May-Chang
Originally published on BoiseWeekly.com Nov. 23, 2010
Idaho’s transgender community expressed outrage over a prosecutor’s comments in the case of a transgender accused of practicing medicine without a license. The remarks by Ada country prosecutor, Ana Mamani were made Nov. 17 during the arraignment of Kristina Ross.
Ross, 37, is accused of representing herself as a doctor and performed breast exams on two women in local night clubs.
Ross also happens to be a transgender woman. How her gender identity was portrayed in court, and subsequently by local media, is what has the trans-community upset.
Mamani stated in court, “The most concerning facts here are that the defendant is not a doctor and that the defendant is a male touching a woman’s breast under the guise of being a female.”
“As a lesbian who is legally and physically female, but with a male history, this certainly worries me,” Jennifer Smith told Citydesk. “Given that the charge is practicing medicine without a license, I don’t see how Ms. Ross’s gender has any bearing. The issue is whether her actions constituted practicing medicine.”
Smith adds, “Since many of us conduct regular breast exams on ourselves without our physicians considering us to be unqualified to do so, the charge seems a bit of a stretch.
Transgender educator and human rights activist, Emilie Jackson-Edney said, “The manner in which [Mamani] made that statement was like looking me straight in the face, calling me an impostor, and saying, ‘You sick pervert!’ Kristina Ross identifies as a woman. She isn’t pretending to be a woman.”
“Ana Mamani’s statement is rooted in misogyny, violence, mis-gendering, dehumanization, mocking, objectifying, and disregard for the humanity of trans-women,” said Jackson-Edney, “and the biased news media report on this is callous, meant to ridicule and exasperate fear. It makes it extremely difficult to press our equality issues with the legislative bodies when our community is portrayed as perverts.”
Jean Fisher, an Ada County prosecutor assigned to the case, told CityDesk that although she has not read the full report but from what law enforcement told her, “The set of circumstances on its face, even without reading it in my opinion, is unique.”
Asked whether Ross’s gender identity is a factor in the case Fisher replied, “There is a concern obviously that perhaps this is a sexual assault in nature. So, it may be that is a factor, it may not be. I’m just not sure.”
Fisher said she was “sorry that the transgender community took in general those comments offensively.” Fisher says that what she thought Mamani “did not say very accurately” and was trying to say, “Unartfully” was that Ross was using her false status as doctor to help these people, “when it might have been for was to assault.”
“But the case is now mine to prosecute and to evaluate,” said Fisher, “I will do that really very carefully.”
The following video segment was not included in the original Boise Weekly City Desk post but was added here for additional context. KTVB Channel 7 Nov. 17 Coverage — Kristina Ross arraignment