There is plenty of controversy over the case of Miguel “Michelle” Martinez, a transgender woman who is set to begin trial for the alleged rape of a 10-year-old girl in a bathroom, according to the Star Tribune. As seen on the publication’s website, the article has been updated with the clarification that the alleged rape of the 10-year-old girl “was alleged to have happened in bathroom in a private residence.” The fact that the alleged sexual assault happened in the bathroom of a private residence is essential because the notion that it occurred in a bathroom was a nugget that certain publications took and ran with, linking the assault to transgender bathroom laws.
According to Snopes, the case of Miguel Martinez or Michelle Martinez launched plenty of headlines, as noted in their article titled “Was a Transgender Woman Convicted of Sexually Assaulting a Young Girl in a Bathroom?” The publication notes that a plethora of blog posts appeared that blamed the alleged sexual assault of a 10-year-old girl on laws that allow transgender people to use the bathrooms of the gender with which they most closely identify. Martinez was a friend of the family, and the transgender woman is being accused of raping the young girl. However, the narrative being spread online in some corners is that Martinez was able to allegedly sexually assault the young girl because of transgender bathroom laws.
In the wake of the news about the Martinez case breaking, soon to follow were headlines that claimed a transgender Wyoming woman was convicted of sexually assaulting a 10-year-old girl in a public bathroom. Such claims were repeated throughout a variety of websites, as seen on Facebook. The article titled “Transgender Wyoming woman convicted of sexually assaulting 10-year-old girl in bathroom” from Fox News was shared more than 170,000 times on Facebook.
The same assertions were repeated by a variety conservative websites, including Daily Caller, Daily Wire, Red Flag News, Silence is Consent and Louder With Crowder. The Louder With Crowder website linked “Trans Bathrooms” to the Martinez case, likely prompting the clarification in the original article. The 27-year-old Miguel claims to be innocent of rape.
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