Her lawyer, Mark Scurti, says Polis never sued the fast-food company, but he won't say whether she received an out-of-court settlement. "The matter is concluded," Scurti says.

McDonald's spokeswoman Ashlee Yingling says, "The legal details of this matter are confidential."

After the April 18 beating, Polis was humiliated. She wasn't looking to tell her story.

"You're embarrassed after you get into a fight," Polis says. "I didn't even tell anyone I got into a fight at McDonald's."

But after the video emerged and began attracting attention on YouTube, support poured in. Politicians condemned the attack. People set up Facebook pages to offer good wishes. A vigil outside McDonald's drew a huge crowd.

The Trans Panthers Party for Self Defense — a Los Angeles-based group modeled after the Black Panthers — paid for Polis to stay in a hotel room for a few days as the publicity intensified.

"Happy to report that Chrissy Lee Polis (re: Baltimore McDonald's) is safe for right now at an undisclosed location and being shielded by Trans Panthers from any potential threats and media hounds," the group posted on its Facebook page.

Members of the loosely organized group, which has chapters worldwide, chipped in so Polis would have money for food and other everyday expenses — "whatever we could give," says Trans Panthers member Megan Knowles.

Group members tried to stay in touch, though it was sometimes hard.

"Chrissy moved around a lot because she's trying to balance her life and was trying to fit into society," Knowles says. "But we tried to."

Some people offered to help Polis find counseling, medical care and other services, Scurti says.

Others offered money, but much of that "never materialized," he says. "There were just a few [people] that she could really rely upon."

A human story

In Polis, many organizations saw a human face for the stories they'd been trying to tell, Scurti says.

"A lot of groups wanted to highlight the abuse that has impacted the trans community," says Scurti, whose practice concentrates on gay- and transgender-related law issues. "Without the human stories, it's very difficult for a legislator or a council person to pass laws to protect a group of folks."

The push for laws to protect transgender people from discrimination in Maryland started long before the attack on Polis. But leaders of the community say the incident helped bring the cause to the attention of a mainstream audience.

Sharon Brackett of Gender Rights Maryland says the media overstated Polis' role in the passage of transgender anti-discrimination laws in Baltimore and Howard counties.

Still, the video was a visceral example of the violence transgender people have faced, Beyer says.

"People could actually relive it themselves in a way that made it far more personal," she says. "And people start to care. It became a very powerful thing."

Brackett says, "There's no person, no normal human being, who can look at that video and say that's OK."