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Police investigating possible hate crime, transgender woman’s car spray-painted with slurs

Posted at 5:26 PM, Jul 02, 2015

PLAINFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. – Gidget Groendyk says it was difficult driving her car into work Thursday morning, because hateful slurs had been spraypainted on it. Groendyk is a transgender woman, and she tells FOX 17 she has faced years of harrassment.

The Kent County Sheriff's Department is investigating the vandalism as a possible hate crime.

Groendyk lives in a quiet Blithefield Acres neighborhood, and Thursday she woke up to her car vandalized in her driveway.

"I’m so used to this stuff right now, I’ve seen so much, I’m just like, 'This is bullcrap,'"” said Groendyk. "I’m like maybe I should sell out. Maybe I need to move. Maybe I need to go somewhere where it’s friendly. I’m just so sad, and I’m so tired of all of this, I just want it to stop, that’s it. It’s never-ending.”

Back in 2011, Groendyk says, she came out as a transgender woman and then legally changed her name the next year. She owns Studio G Salon in Sparta, and she says it has been hard enough losing some customers and friends in the process.

“You’re sick of telling the lie, telling your friends everything’s cool, trying to macho up,” said Groendyk. “You’re miserable, and you’re wasting your life away. Basically, you want to become who you really are.”

Yet it's not only her spray-painted car that Groendyk says is making her feel harassed. In May, she got a ticket for having an “inoperable” vehicle on her property. However, Groendyk says the truck was registered to her mother at the time.

When she went to handle matters at the Plainfield Township Office, Groendyk says, an employee would not address her by her legally changed name.

“I just talked to her, and I says, 'Could you please call me by my name Gidget?' And she goes, 'Well is that your legal name?' I’m like, 'Yes.' ‘Well do you have any proof?’ I’m like, 'Yes, I got court papers, I got a Social Security card, I got a passport, a driver’s license.'”

Some of Groendyk’s neighbors told FOX 17 News that they are shocked by this vandalism.

“We don’t like to see that at all in this neighborhood,” said Kyle Hall, a neighbor. “It’s pretty calm for the most part, I mean. I don’t ever recall anybody ever doing anything like that around here. We don’t like to see that.”

“My guts are saying leave, run away, don’t come back, this is not a safe LGBT neighborhood,” said Groendyk.

Plainfield Township office officials were out of the office for the holiday weekend and unavailable for comment.

The Kent County Sheriff’s Department continues their possible felony, hate crime investigation. If you have any additional information, call the sheriff’s department at (616) 632-6100, or Silent Observer at (616) 774-2345.