Nikki Joly is a woman identifying as a man. That’s an interesting story alone. But here’s another compelling nugget: According to Michigan prosecutors, in 2017 — in an attempt to draw more attention to gay issues — she burned down her own house as a fake “hate crime.”
The act was initially investigated by the FBI, no less.
What was Nikki’s motive?
Over the course of six months, she’d helped open a gay community center, organized the town’s first gay festival, and participated in the successful fight for an ordinance specifically preventing discrimination against homosexuals — after 18 years of clawing for such legislation.
But everything had died down, it seems, and she needed more controversy:
As reported by The Detroit News:
Two people who worked with Joly at St. John’s United Church of Christ, where the Jackson Pride Center was located, said he had been frustrated the controversy over gay rights had died down with the passage of the nondiscrimination law, according to the report.
The church officials, Barbara Shelton and Bobby James, when asked by police about a possible motive for the fire, said Joly was disappointed the Jackson Pride Parade and Festival, held five days before the blaze, hadn’t received more attention or protests.
While the house was indeed Nikki’s residence, she was renting.
Fortunately, the home was insured by its owner.
Local gay resident Travis Trombley — who also fought for the city ordinance — said Nikki’s goober move brought shame to the gays:
“It’s embarrassing. How do you do it to the community you have put so much effort into helping?”
Travis wasn’t alone:
As gay rights supporters try to reconcile Joly the crusader with Joly the alleged arsonist, they worry the arrest could be used to reverse all the good he has done.
Stella Shananaquet, whose son is gay, said leaders of social movements need to be beyond reproach because any perceived missteps could be used against their cause.
“All that good work is tainted. We know one bad mark outshines a hundred good ones,” Shananaquet said. “I’m infuriated someone could tear down the community that way.”
Nikki’s five pets died in the fire.
As noted at the beginning of this article, Nikki identifies as a man.
Here’s a photo:
In 2018, Nikki was named Citizen of the Year.
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