LGBTQ Violence Against Women

Activists Respond to Video of Black Trans Woman Being Attacked by Group of Men

Iyanna Dior, a 21-year-old Black transgender woman from Minneapolis, Minnesota, was brutally attacked by a group of mostly cisgender men on Monday, according to a video that has gone viral on social media this week.

The video shows a group of between 15 and 30 assailants beating Dior and calling her homophobic slurs outside a convenience store after a reported fender bender. Dior was able to escape into the store and through the back entrance with the help of bystanders, who stood between her and her attackers.

Dior has since posted a video on Facebook saying that she was okay. She suffered some swelling and bruising on her face and arms, as well as minor injuries to her forehead and teeth.

News of Dior’s attack has enraged activists, prompting a flood of demands for justice and increased awareness of the high rates of violence against Black transgender women. The rallying cries of #JusticeForIyannaDior and #BlackTransLivesMatter have circulated social media amongst nationwide protests against police violence and anti-Black racism.

Several high-profile Black trans women expressed solidarity with Dior on social media, including Janet Mock and Raquel Willis. Activists also circulated Dior’s CashApp and advised that allies to the LGBTQ+ community donate.

Dior’s attack comes shortly after the murder of Tony McDade, a 38-year-old Black transgender man in Tallahassee, Florida, by police officers. Activists have also drawn comparisons to the brutal murder of another Black trans woman, Nina Pop, 28, who was found dead in her Missouri apartment in early May. Police have not established a motive for Pop’s murder but suspect it was a hate crime.

No arrests have been made in either case. Police departments initially misgendered both McDade and Pop when releasing information about their murders.

The Human Rights Campaign reported that at least 26 transgender or gender-nonconforming people were violently killed in 2019, at least 91 percent of which were Black trans women. Eighty-one percent were under the age of 30.

“This violence has got to stop. All of our heats should hurt watching the videos of this young trans woman being hit by a group of people. Black lives matter and that includes trans, non-binary, queer, cis and straight Black lives,” Tori Cooper, director of community engagement for HRC’s Transgender Justice Initiative, told Rolling Stone. “The time is now for us to make changes through an intersectional lens that includes all Black lives.”

Activists in Minneapolis have planned a march in solidarity with Dior for June 4. To those who cannot march, they recommend sending donations to The Okra Project or the Trans Women of Color Collective in Dior’s honor.

Sources: VOX 6/4/2020; Rolling Stone 6/4/2020

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