Transwoman publicly beaten for trying to use bathroom; No One Helped

This is a follow up from a Bilerico post about a transwoman who was brutally and repeatedly beaten and dragged across the floor in a Baltimore McDonalds because she tried to use the bathroom. She received no help. Instead the employees watched and filmed it on their phones as she was been beaten so badly she had a seizure.

There is a video, but (TRIGGER WARNING) I will summarize for those who prefer not to watch the 3 minute long ordeal of two women relentlessly beating a (trans) woman, who tried to stand her ground, covering her head and screaming to be left alone. The employees stand at a distance filming the event on their phone. The attackers are separated from the woman several times, giving the manager and employees enough time to force the attackers to leave, help the shocked, attacked woman, and call the police. None of this happens. The two attackers are able to repeatedly hit, punch, pull, kick, and drag the woman across the entire restaurant where she begins to seize. The employees point and say she needs help, but do nothing as her limp body uncontrollably bangs against the floor, wall, and garbage can. The manager watches the attackers walk out and steps over the woman’s convulsing body, not even looking down at her.

The video; I decided not to post it out of concerns for whether or not I was supporting some exploitation or non-consensual filming, but I can to the conclusion that the visibility is important. I will link to it – this for one reason, to illustrate the lack of humanity here.  If we shut our eyes to these things, we’re ignoring them. It is extremely violent and possibly triggering. Please be sure to take care of yourself. Before you watch it, know its likely that you’re gonna have this image stuck in your head for a while.

It’s horrifying, and it shows my jaded disposition that I’m not at all fucking surprised by this. Of course she got the shit beat out of her for simply trying to use the bathroom. Of course people made little to no effort to stop her attackers. Of course she was leered and pointed at like an object. And of course the video was posted online as some form of entertainment. At least they used the right pronoun when they were pointing at her shaking body on the floor. Should we feel grateful for that? Do I just not trust non-trans people? No, I don’t, plain and simple. Why should I? Every time I use a public bathroom this is honestly what I expect to happen to me. Am I paranoid? Well in order for me to be paranoid I would have to have an irrational fear, a fear of something unlikely to happen. Based on my history of being harassed in bathrooms, and the everyday example laid out for us right here, being attacked seems pretty fucking likely to me. I’m not paranoid, I’m just plain scared.

Watching this, I’m more angry than anything else. Angry this woman had to go through this, angry that even with laws and maybe even with non-gendered bathrooms, this shit isn’t gonna stop until society gets its act together. This is the state of our people. We are dehumanized by society because we are different, because we are ourselves. Would these people had acted differently if the woman being attacked was not trans? Possibly;  it is clear that the well being of another person, a person being heinously attacked, was none of their concern. But we don’t know because she is trans, and this did happen. The other night in an interview with some young activists I was asked what I hoped to see happen for the trans community in the next ten years. I answered that I wanted to see trans folk recognized fairly in global society, be recognized as human. Our people can’t fucking wait another ten years, and still I don’t know if ten years is going to be enough time to make it happen…

So when people;  bar hoppers, professors, administrators, bosses, politicians, activists, even friends and family say that LGB is enough, that the laws are enough, that we don’t need non-gendered spaces, that there aren’t enough of us to make changes, spending money worth it…  that what we have now is “good enough” – show them this fucking video and remind them that this happens every day, people see it every day, and every day people look the other way, everyday people treat us as less than human.

You can contact Mcdonalds about this event to share your thoughts. Also, I want to give a special shout out toBil Browning of Bilerico, a blogger who continually works to support the trans community and our movement.

View UPDATES on this event.

14 comments

  • Do you know if the two women we’re caught? If so, were they arrested? How is the young lady who got beaten doing?

    • nothing has been released. my activist pals in Baltimore have told me that the local news stations didn’t even know about it, and will be doing a story on it tonight.

  • If you can, please keep us updated. This is both terrifying and sad. Since I have recently started dating a trans-woman, every day I’m afraid something like this will happen to her. :(

  • This makes me sick, I can barely watch this. That woman….I can’t even imagine. How could this still happen? HOW?

    LGB is NOT enough. Not in any way.

    I feel so helpless. What can I DO? How can I contact McDonalds, the link wasn’t working…

    PS. I’m a student at Clark University, where you spoke a few weeks ago. I’ll share this with our group, definitely.

    • Fixed the link – Thanks for the heads up!

      As to what we can do about this, I am a strong believer in doing the work in your community, where you can reach it. Educate on gender variance and advocate for gender inclusiveness. Promote visibility, show the world trans exists and teach the importance of accepting difference. How this is done, that’s where you come in, use your strengths and passions to make change – do what speaks to you, do what you love. I feel that your group at Clark is already hard at work to make things better. We have to all work together, and if all of us are taking steps at home where we live and supporting each other where we don’t, we’re bound to accomplish our goal. good luck!

  • I don’t appreciate how you tar all non trans people with the same brush. I’ve had some bad experiences with more than one trans person but I know that it doesn’t represent all of you. You are also just a person whatever gender you are choosing to identify as and the percentage of who is good and bad within each group isn’t all that different. I understand that your fear isn’t unfounded and more needs to be done towards the fight for equality, respect and understanding but comments like this don’t help. Alienating good people by suggesting we’re all as untrustworthy as the girls committing the heinous act in this video does nothing for your cause.
    I was beaten up in bathrooms and in the street many times in my youth because I was part of alt culture here but I don’t assume that only alt people are trustworthy because that’s discriminatory, hypocritical and just really obviously not true.
    On the more important topic though – What happened in this video was really, really awful and I hope the lady manages to get through this without long lasting psychological trauma, although I’m not sure that’s even possible. It must have been terrifying.

    • Hi Belia,
      I never said I don’t like anyone who isn’t trans, the majority of my friends are not trans. I have both the right and the reasons to express that society gives me no reason to trust others around me because I am visibly gender non-conforming. I recognize the likelihood of my safety with non-trans people – and there is no way to know who is going to be cool and who isn’t. I recognize that anyone can be assaulted in bathrooms. But we are not simply talking about someone being attacked because they are different, we are talking about a trans person being attacked because she did not conform to gendered expectations – she was punished for it. It is similar to someone being attacked for, per your example, being alt, but it is in no way the same thing or coming from the same causes. I think it would be worthwhile to analyze our own positions in society, our own privilege. Like all oppressions, it is important to recognize the trials of the trans community as something in its own vein and therefore not feel personally threatened when the trans community expresses our pain. If I say I am angry at a non-trans run society, that doesn’t mean I am calling out to you or any other non-trans person. I feel it is understandable for a community, especially under the circumstances in this post, to express fear and discontent for the society that oppresses them. We need support and understanding from our trans allies, not competition.

  • @belia – I don’t mean to sound rude, but I really think you need to check your privilege on this one. It sucks that you experienced discrimination, but this isn’t the time to get into a pissing contest. By complaining about yourself as a non-trans person feeling offended by us you are drawing attention away from the issue at hand, which is trans oppression. You aren’t trans, so you aren’t going to understand what its like. Its just plain selfish to start fussing and being offended when its clear this isn’t about you. It doesn’t have to be about you all the time, non-trans people have the whole world being about them…

  • I’m a trans person and personally I agree with belia’s comment. I’m tired of this us versus them mentality that seems to happen. And while I think it’s important to check our privilege, I think that statement is often used when someone doesn’t like what somewhat else has to say so they can dismiss them by saying check your privilege and you don’t have a right to have feelings about this topic because you’re not in the community. Belia is obviously an ally and if we treat our allies this aggressively soon we’ll have none.

  • This is an atrocious act of violence. Unfounded and unprovoked. I just wanted to punch those girls so hard their faces fell off. I did think it was funny that the one girl lost her crappy weave.

    As I read the post, the non-trans talk really seemed to me as a ‘call to arms.’ Not for fighting, but for non-trans people, like me, to step up our game. For me, this made me think, “How can I reach out to trans people in my area so they know that, if they need someone to come to, to talk to, I will be an ear and a shoulder?”

    • Kerry, Thanks! that is exactly as I meant it to be read. :)

      Jack, when someone opens a conversation on privilege, it is not an “us vs. them” issue, it is a “how can we work together better” conversation. We all have moments when we have to take a step back and think about ourselves, how we work, why we think what we do. Its all part of the process of bettering ourselves, and the world. We, as peers, are each other’s support and also each other’s source for accountability – which means we must be thoughtful speakers and listeners in turn.

      We have to stand up and work for change, and we can not possibly change society if we are split from one another. Still working together isn’t always as easy as it looks. We have to give a genuine back and forth, and sometimes that means challenging ourselves, our own mentalities, in order to find common ground; or as Kerry said, re-evaluate ourselves to find how we can use own strengths. Social change is never just about one population, it influences everyone, because in the end we are all living in this place together.

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  • I cried watching this video. For It touched me so much how these people are so cruel. We are all humans and we do not deserve to be treated this way. Someone would not like it if that happens to them, why they do it. Even though we are all different in race, culture and all, we are just people wanting to live a normal life. This was really wrong of them to do this. I am really angry with their actions. I am upset that noone tried to help Her out expect that women in the white. Thank you for trying lady in the white. You were the only one who actually went in. The guy in the blue thank you for trying to help, but I wished you did more. The people recording you guys could have helped but no you did not. What a world we live in. I hope all will go well for they lady who was harmed. thank you for sharing.

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