Three anti-violence groups and an AIDS organization in Virginia issued a joint statement on Tuesday condemning the May 21 beating of a 32-year-old transgender woman outside a 7-Eleven store in Fredericksburg, Va.
The statement, initiated by the Richmond-based Virginia Anti-Violence Project, which monitors violence against LGBT people, notes that a neighbor came to the aid of the transgender woman while at least three attackers punched and kicked her and as one of the attackers struck her with a broomstick.
“The woman has found overwhelming support from neighborhood residents and is being supported by local organizations,” said the statement.
Police have charged 19-year-old Farkeem Omar French and his 18-year-old girlfriend, Laqueta Webb, with malicious wounding by mob in connection with the attack. Police said they were looking for a third suspect in the case.
Farkeem, who was released on bail, and Webb, who is being held in custody, are scheduled to appear at a status hearing on June 23 in Fredericksburg General District Court.
Activists following the case consider the incident an anti-transgender hate crime based on reports by witnesses that those assaulting the woman taunted her over her status as a transgender person. Virginia’s hate crimes law covers victims based on their race, religion and ethnicity but does not cover incidents based on a victim’s gender identity or sexual orientation.
In addition to the Virginia Anti-Violence Project, the groups signing the joint statement include the Fredericksburg Area HIV/AIDS Support Services, the Rappahannock Council Against Sexual Assault, and the Rappahannock Council on Domestic Violence.
“In solidarity, we support all victims of violence, regardless of the motivation, while acknowledging that stigma and discrimination still play a noticeable role in the experiences of many victims of violence from within the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning (LGBTQ) community,” the statement says.