D.C. Attacks Prompt Meeting on Crime
Local activists, community members, business owners and officers of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) gathered at The DC Center, Washington’s LGBT community center, Friday to discuss possible responses to several recent anti-LGBT attacks.
Earline Budd, of the transgender-services agency Transgender Health Empowerment, chaired the meeting. David Mariner, executive director of The DC Center; Richard J. Rosendall of the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance (GLAA); Nico Quintana of the DC Trans Coalition (DCTC); Ruby Corado of Casa Ruby; and Sterling Washington from the Mayor’s Office of GLBT Affairs were also part of the meeting of about 30 people.
’’Unfortunately, we find ourselves coming together again to condemn violence against the LGBT community, and specifically transgender women of color,’’ Quintana said to the audience.
Recent attacks discussed at the meeting involved a transgender woman stabbed 35 to 40 times June 21, a transgender woman fatally shot June 22, a transgender woman who suffered a non-fatal bullet wound June 27, and a gay man beaten June 23 while wearing his drag-entertainer attire. After the meeting, however, on June 29, two more transgender woman were assaulted.
Budd warned the audience that anti-transgender attacks typically tend to increase in the summer, as do the number of overall crimes, but said it was important to seek community feedback in order to take needed steps to prepare for the next anti-transgender attack that occurs in the District. In particular, Budd emphasized the need for outreach to those who might be at risk, such as transgender women who are out on the streets at night or in the early morning hours.
’’We’ve got to get involved, and the biggest thing is making the trans community aware that these things are happening, because there are a lot of transgender women who know absolutely nothing of any of the events we are talking about,’’ Budd said.
At times, the meeting roiled, as Rosendall called for calm. Many in the audience vented their anger specifically at Earl Hooks, a public relations representative who attended the meeting and spoke on behalf of Manny & Olga’s restaurant, where the gay man, Miles DeNiro, who performs as Heidi Glüm, was beaten.
Local activist Danielle King, as well as other transgender audience members, seemed to take offense at Hooks’s characterization of the incident, asking Hooks why employees of Manny & Olga’s did not step in to stop the fight or call 911, which, according to a viral video clip of the fight, continued for several minutes.
’’Why did you allow this incident to occur, instead of proactively addressing hate crimes, or hate or violence within your store?’’ King asked during an exchange with Hooks. ’’My other concern is how do you employ individuals who are not human enough to protect other individuals, or at least pick up the phone and advocate for them by calling the police?’’
The audience’s anger spilled over when Hooks began to expound the company’s policy of not putting employees in danger, with audience members countering that an employee may have safely phoned the police.