Seattle WA – trans woman attacked by a “group of teens”

June 10, 2009

flag of SeattleVia the Seattle Post-Intelligencer (link here), this report demonstrates only too well that transphobia and hate crimes know no age limits:

A group of teens beat a transgender person and threatened to kill her Saturday on Rainier Avenue, according to Seattle police.

[…]

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.

The usual assumption that all and any trans women are sex workers. This allegation doesn’t appear to have been proved anywhere but is still included in the police report as well as the media’s coverage.

The assault happened about 4:40 p.m. Saturday. When police arrived, several witnessed flagged them down, saying the suspects fled on a Metro bus.

Police stopped the coach near Rainier and South Andover Street. When the bus stopped, the teen who was arrested fled and was identified by a witness, police said.

Good that the police took prompt action. Bad that Officer Wayne Johnson’s report misgendered her so comprehensively:

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 boy arrested, either 13 or 14, “was uncooperative in providing information regarding the identities of the other suspects involved in the incident,” Officer Wayne Johnson wrote in his report.

Is it really a surprise that cis society is inculcating its children to be as transphobic as its parents, when authority figures such as the police are sending out such mixed messages? From Officer Johnson’s report, it’s hard not to conclude that he holds views every bit as transphobic as the youths who carried out the attack.

And, when the law enforcement officers themselves insist on misgendering us in their official reports, what recourse to law do we as individuals really have, in a world where transphobic violence is obviously spiralling out of control? This year alone we’ve already seen reports of transphobic hate crimes being carried out directly by the police (Honduras, Idaho, U.S), as well as other cases where our attackers are left free to roam the streets by the authorities (Turkey).

If we can’t trust the authorities who are empowered to protect us; if they themselves make it so obvious that they have as much hate for us as our attackers, then who can we trust to defend us?

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Curtsey to Stefani for the heads-up

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Cross-posted at Questioning Transphobia

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