A group of teens beat a transgender person and threatened to kill her Saturday on Rainier Avenue, according to Seattle police.
The person, who told police she is in the process of changing her name and appearance to a woman, reported she was attacked by a group of teens at the bus stop at Rainier and South Mount Baker Boulevard.
A teenage boy was arrested and booked into the Youth Service Center for investigation of robbery and felony malicious harassment, the state’s hate crime law, according to police.
The teen told police he and his “homies” did not bother the victim until she solicited him for sex.
Of course there’s no evidence whatsoever that the victim is a sex worker. Apparently even a 13-year-old knows both the stereotype that all trans women are sex workers, and the idea that if someone is a sex worker, it’s okay to beat and threaten to kill her.
The other teens who committed the attack are currently being sought by police.
When we have such young teens committing such a violent and horrifying act of hate, we of course naturally have to stop and ask ourselves what the hell is going on. And the answer also isn’t all that difficult to parse out. This section of the first linked article above tells quite the story:
The victim, in her 30s, told police “that as soon as the suspects got to him [sic], they started hitting and kicking him [sic] at the same time one of the (suspects) was attempting to take his [sic] backpack,” according to a police report.
The victim held onto her backpack and briefly got away. But she told police they charged again, knocking her to the ground. She said she heard a homophobic term said when she was being beaten, and one of the boys stated they were going to kill her.
“He [sic] also stated that he [sic] sometimes wears a skirt and he [sic] stated that he [sic] believes he [sic] was attacked because of this,” according to the heavily redacted report.
The victim did not suffer life-threatening injuries and declined medical attention at the scene.
The quotes are taken from the police report, written by Officer Wayne Johnson. The official records that have been filed in this woman’s brutal assault purposely misgender her and attempt to dehumanize and degrade her in doing so. The person writing this report is a person of significant and serious authority. A person who has to know better, as I believe that any adult does, despite their steadfast refusal to put their understanding of the concept of basic decency to use. This is how he feels comfortable treating the victim in his official paperwork. And so lord only knows how badly he treated her when she was actually standing in front of him, still shaken and injured from the attack.
We’ve also recently had an instance of right-wing shock jocks publicly advocating the assault of transgender children. Even more recently, Thomas Beattie gave birth to his second child, only to be met with transphobic tirades from some supposedly “progressive” woman on television, and surely countless others. And still more recently than that, Chaz Bono decided to publicly declare his identity as a trans man — an announcement which has, horribly and yet unsurprisingly, been met with plenty of casual mocking and denial of his true gender. Just this morning I woke up to some comments in my Twitter feed, from a person who I immediately unfollowed, both making fun of and bemoaning the fact that people are actually using the correct pronouns and name to refer to Chaz. Because clearly granting trans people the basic respect of referring to them as they wish, a privilege which cis people are afforded every day, is just going much too far.
Obviously it’s highly unlikely that these teenagers heard of any one of these such events and decided to go commit an assault as a result. But is it really all that surprising, in light of the above which has all taken place in the span of two weeks, that kids so young would hold such dangerous and bigoted views? That they would see trans individuals as less human than cis ones?
Violence doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Bigotry doesn’t happen in a vacuum. And kids don’t learn how to hate out of thin air.
- We Are the Dead: Sex, Assault, and Trans Women by Cara April 12, 2010
- The Shape of the Problem by Queen Emily July 3, 2010
- Killing a Woman Because She’s Trans “Not a Classic Hate Crime” by Cara August 4, 2008
- You don’t get to out me by Queen Emily June 28, 2010
- Transgender Woman Beaten By Police and Threatened With Murder in Honduras by Cara February 10, 2009