In response to the past week’s string of attacks on members of DC’s LGBT communities, the DC Trans Coalition releases the following statement:
The DC Trans Coalition condemns the recent assault on a transgender woman on West Virginia Ave, NE and the two separate assaults on gay men in the greater Columbia Heights area. We note, with increasing frustration, that these are just the latest incidents in a long history of violence against transgender and LGB people in our city, particularly young transgender women of color. We are stunned that some media coverage and community responses are sidelining the attack on the transgender woman – perhaps in part because of the Metropolitan Police Department’s refusal to classify the attack as a hate crime, despite the victim’s own statements.
While the attacks on both gay men have been classified as bias crimes, MPD has refused to classify the assault on the transgender woman as a bias-related crime because she was beaten so badly as to be knocked unconscious and, as a result, has hazy memories of her assault. The police department has also regularly refused to take responsibility for preventing and solving anti-trans crimes (as we discuss here). Rather than advocate for safer conditions for trans people, Chief Cathy Lanier and other police officials have recently said, on several occasions, that members of the trans community are responsible for avoiding “situations where they might be harmed.” This kind of blatant victim-blaming demonstrates deep misunderstanding of the pervasive anti-trans discrimination found throughout our city.
We request that Mayor Gray, the MPD, the media and even members of lesbian, gay and bisexual communities in DC to give equal support and visibility to all three victims of the recent attacks and to come together to seriously address the ongoing anti-trans, and now anti-gay, violence in Washington, DC.