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Two Americas

Another Hate Hoax: LGBT Activist Accused of Burning Down Own Home

Police said the alleged perpetrator was unhappy about the lack of attention given to a local gay pride parade.



A transgender man and LGBT activist in Michigan stands accused of burning down his own home in yet another hate crime hoax.

“When the home of Nikki Joly burned down in 2017, killing five pets, the FBI investigated it as a hate crime,” said The Detroit News.

Joly was a gay rights icon in what is described as the “conservative town” of Jackson, Michigan.

“In the prior six months, he helped open the city’s first gay community center, organized the first gay festival and, after 18 years of failed attempts, helped lead a bruising battle for an ordinance that prohibits discrimination against gays,” the paper said. “For his efforts, a local paper named him the Citizen of the Year.”

Upon close examination of the “crime scene,” authorities determined that the fire was intentionally set, and soon thereafter arrested Joly. The motive for the arson was not money. Joly did not own the home. Insurance would not have been paid out to him.

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In searching for a motive, two coworkers of Joly’s at the St. Johns United Church of Christ (yes, the transgender man and LGBT activist worked in a church, where the town’s gay pride center is located) offered some insight.

“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,” the paper said.

The paper noted that Shelton disputed the police’s characterization of her comments.

Joly reportedly declined to comment.

Follow Peter D’Abrosca on Twitter: @pdabrosca

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