Ugly news out of Bushwick: Just two weeks after a gay man was shot in the torso by a group of men yelling homophobic and transphobic slurs at him, a trans woman was brutally attacked with a Plexiglas two-by-four. The second attack, which put the victim in critical condition, took place just three blocks from the first.
According to the NYPD, the incident took place late Sunday night, around 11:20 p.m., in front of 1250 Bushwick Avenue. The NYPD says assailants approached the 28-year-old from behind, calling her names before attacking her. “The four males then began to punch and kick the victim about the body. One suspect threw a Plexiglas board at the victim striking [her] in the head.”
The victim, whose name has not been released, was a client at New Alternatives for Homeless LGBT Youth, reports Gay City News. The nonprofit’s director, Kate Barnhart, told the paper the assailants called her “faggot” before they began beating her. Barnhart says the victim is in stable condition now, “but it is not clear if she will have permanent brain damage.”
The NYPD has released a video of two of the four suspects, all of whom are wanted for felony assault.
A spokesman for the NYPD said that Sunday’s assault was being investigated as a hate crime, but that it was not believed to be related to the other recent LGBT hate crime in the area. In that case, three men shot a gay man who was described as wearing “feminine clothing” at the time of the attack. Those three were arrested shortly after the incident. (Two were charged with menacing in the third degree as a hate crime; the third was charged with assault in the first degree.)
According to the New York City Anti-Violence Project, there has been a 26 percent increase in hate violence against LBGT and HIV-infected individuals in New York this year, and a 21 percent increase in reports of violence against trans men and women.
In January, a trans woman was attacked while eating with a friend at a diner in Astoria, Queens. In July, a trans woman was assaulted by two men in the South Bronx, who reportedly called her “faggot” and “Patty Boy.” In August, a trans woman was attacked at a subway station in Crown Heights.
“You really could frame it as an epidemic,” says Shelby Chestnut, co-director of Community Organizing and Public Advocacy for the project.
Anyone with information about Sunday’s incident is being asked to contact Crime Stoppers by calling 1-800-577-8477, texting a tip to 274637 (CRIMES) using the code TIP577, or visiting NYPDCRIMESTOPPERS.COM. Victims and witnesses can also report violence and get help by calling the New York City Anti-Violence Project hotline at 212-714-1141.