A week after a transgender woman was attacked with a hammer in what’s now being investigated as a bias crime, local elected officials and Woodside residents rallied on Thursday afternoon calling for justice.
The assault occurred on the morning of Aug. 17 on 66th Street off Roosevelt Avenue, when the 28-year-old transgender woman was struck in the head. The assailant reportedly said, “This is what you get for being gay.” The victim, named Gabby, spoke at the event with the assistance of a translator, saying that she was thankful for all the support and that she had felt “a lot of fear.”
According to Bianey Garcia, LGBTQ organizer at Make the Road New York, a social justice group servicing primarily Latino and working-class people throughout the city, this attack was one in “over 10 incidents against transgender individuals in Queens.”
The incident was also part of a larger nationwide epidemic of transphobia, said LaLa Zannell, New York City Anti-Violence Project Lead Organizer. Many of the groups involved point out how this epidemic unequally affects transgender people of color.
From 2013-2015, at least 53 transgender individuals were murdered in the United States, 90 percent of whom were transgender people of color. People in the trans community, and in particular transgender women of color, face added barriers; 41 percent of black and 27 percent of Hispanic transgender individuals have experienced homelessness at some point in their lives.
During the rally at the corner of Roosevelt and Woodside avenues, the participants — including Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, Public Advocate Letitia James, City Comptroller Scott Stringer and Congressman Joe Crowley — expressed solidarity with transgender women in the city.
The rally sent a clear message that such disgusting acts of hatred will not be tolerated.
“Our trans neighbors should be able to go about their daily lives without living in fear of a vicious attack like the one that happened last week,” Van Bramer said. He called upon all New Yorkers to come together and with one voice demand an end to violence for all LGBTQ people.
James added that “New York City is a fabric woven of diverse communities, sexual orientations, faiths, ethnicities and genders, and we all have a moral responsibility to stand together and speak out against this bigotry.”