A transgender woman was the victim of an assault at a protest in Paris last Sunday, March 31. The 31 year-old who was identified only by her first name, Julia, was verbally harassed and physically assaulted by a group of men.
Julia attempted to make her way through the bustling crowd at Place de la République, a square in Paris, when the assault by three men took place.
“One of them looked at me and said, ‘You’re a man,’” she said. “He did not want to allow me to pass.”
One of the men then proceeded to punch Julia a number of times while another attempted to kick her. The assault was put to an end by the decision to intervene by the nearby subway security officers. Despite the severity of the incident, Julia chose to highlight the ignorance of the attackers and the importance of awareness:
“The abusers are simply ignorant people, who do not understand our situation (…) So as long as I can make it visible, I will do so.”
The assault is being investigated by the Paris prosecutor’s office, calling it: “violence committed on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity.” There has only been one suspect detained, however, and he has since been released.
Protestors argued that the assault was not an isolated incident and indicates the prevalence of prejudice today in French society: “transphobia is still part of our daily life; it is rooted in the institutions which pathologize transgender people”.
Transphobic attacks continue to be reported worldwide; on March 19, a trans teen was left with a severe concussion in a school in Grimsby, UK after attempting to enter a changing room. She was attacked by a girl who smashed her head off the ground and stamped on her face, prompting a visit to the hospital to treat her concussion.
It was reported that this was the third time the student had been assaulted on the grounds of her gender identity.
Violence against transgender people has continued to be reported globally; 22 people have died in the US alone due to transphobic violence in 2018 and a transphobic attack in Dublin last year left a man with six stitches.
STAD (Stop Transphobia and Discrimination) campaign collects data on transphobic violence in Ireland in order to lobby the government for hate crime legislation and raise awareness. Incidents can be reported to their website.
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