At Richard’s second court appearance, his cousin Regis arrives at the courthouse. Regis is gay and is “tall, attractive, and androgynous.” He doesn’t speak to the press, “but his presence is a statement in itself—I’m here, I’m queer, and I support my cousin.”
Regis’s declaration of support for his cousin implies the two are close, and further suggests that Richard isn’t actually homophobic. Additionally, Regis’s androgynous appearance blends both male and female characteristics, much like Sasha’s, which again implies that many people exist outside of the male/female binary.
The reporters aren’t sure how to refer to Sasha, and they aren’t sure if they are gender fluid or gender non-conforming. “I just say he was wearing a skirt,” one reporter says.
The reporters’ ignorance is reflective of the widespread misunderstanding of nonbinary gender identities, which only adds to their social sidelining.
Richard’s court appearance is uneventful and Du Bois files an appeal to contest Richard’s being charged as an adult, but the reporters are more concerned with Richard’s use of the word “homophobic.” Du Bois says that Richard can’t even “spell homophobic, much less be it.” Richard had told his lawyer that being homophobic means that “he isn’t gay, that he likes girls.” Du Bois tells the reporters that they are “putting [Richard] in the category of skinhead because he admitted to being homophobic.” This isn’t a hate-crime, he says. “Lynchings—they’re hate crimes.” Richard is just a “kid who thinks that [wearing a skirt] is anomalous and decided to play a prank.”
Just as Richard doesn’t understand the consequences of his crime, he doesn’t fully understand the word “homophobic,” yet the press and public treat him as if he embodies this hateful word. Richard’s misunderstanding of this word is further proof of his adolescence and is yet another reason why he should not be tried as an adult. If Richard is not homophobic in the true sense of the word, then he shouldn’t be treated as such. While Richard may think that Sasha is strange because they wear a dress, he certainly does not hate them.