June 9, 2011 at 8:30 pm EDT | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Va. groups condemn anti-trans attack in Fredericksburg

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.

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

  • While I certainly don’t condone violence and hope that Farkeem and Laqueta get the book thrown at them in court, trannies really need to act in as conservative social way as possible. No flashiness, no flamboyance, and no anything that will attract attention to them. It was their decision to become transgendered, so, just like everything in life, you pay the consequences of your actions.

    • Same with Gays. It was their decision to become Gay. and if they all just hid in the closet, they wouldn’t have any problems.

      Er… wait.. isn’t that Complete Nonsense? So why say that about Trans people unless you’re a bigot and all-round asshole?

      • Its attitudes like this that cause more problems.No one should hid who they are.This is a sign on the home training you received growing up.Ignorance is not an excuse anymore.

    • Your kidding right “trannies” ?” Choose to become transsexual”? “Be conservative as possible”? Is that the same advice you give to non transsexual people to prevent being harrassed and beaten to death

  • Laurelboy does have a point. The point is blend in. If the person attacked did nothing to provoke the attack, then the perpetrators are wrong. By being conservative, I believe he meant mainstream, not wearing an American flag pin and singing the National Anthem. Let’s deal more with Farkeem and Laqueta’s hatred. Funny how we are more sympathetic to minorities who hate as opposed to mainstream haters. Thay are all vile. Concentrate on the crime.

  • @Chris – So if the person did something to provoke the attack,then the perpetrators are right? She pretty much had it coming to her? Wow! Amazing how you feel Laurel has a point, blend in or suffer the consequences. Yeah, both of you need to focus on the crime, cause the advice you would give to the victims of hate crimes will only set the community back towards the fight for change and equality.

    • Chris was correct. I used the wrong word “conservative” when I, in fact, meant mainstream and blend in. Had the victim done all she/he could to “blend in” without causing attention to be focused on him/her because of his/her action(s), then the perps deserve the book thrown at them. Even if the victim was flamboyant and not mainstreaming his/her actions, then, of course, he/she does not deserve an attack. My only point is, and I’ll write it as clearly as I can, the more mainstream one is, and the more one blends-in well in society, the less chance he/she will be a victim. This holds true with anything in life. It’s not a gay/straight issue – it’s a “life” issue.

      • By the way, I’ve been fortunate to have traveled the world. I do so inconspicuously. When in Rome, I do as the Romans do. And, I’ve never had a problem. Take this analogy and apply it to your transgender/transsexual/transvestite behaviors.

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