Bild, a German newspaper, reported the incident took place on Jan. 10 near the city’s main train station.
One of the victims told Bild that three men began harassing her and the other trans woman. She said they were then tackled to the ground.
“One said, ‘you must be stoned whores,’” she told Bild. “And then they did that.”
Bild reported that a police patrol car was near the train station when the attack took place.
Kim-Ben Freigang, a Dortmund police official, identified the alleged perpetrators as two 16-year-old teenagers and an 18-year-old man of North African descent. They have been charged in connection with the incident.
The Dortmund attack took place less than two weeks after hundreds of women said men sexually assaulted them during New Year’s celebrations in the nearby city of Cologne.
The Associated Press reported that local police said those who sexually assaulted the women in Cologne were part of a large crowd of drunk men of “Arab or North African” descent. The attacks sparked widespread outrage throughout Germany, which continues to struggle with an influx of migrants and refugees from Syria and other countries.
Transgender Europe in a statement condemned the attack against the trans women in Dortmund. The advocacy group also challenged the way the incident has been covered in the German media.
“The initial situation of the perpetrators verbally and sexually harassing the two women was sexist and degrading,” said Transgender Europe. “However, from the account of the two women, it was not a planned attack or a planned ‘stoning’ ritual as some news outlets gave the impression. We are greatly concerned over double standards of news outlets pushing this story for underlying racist sentiment and reporting, while using the story to appeal to racist motives farther, whereas they would not take up trans people’s lives otherwise.”
“Minority groups must not be played out against each other,” added the organization. “Trans people and migrants must not be set against each other, but stand united against oppression, whether it shows itself as transphobia, sexism, racism or other forms of intolerance.”