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Police: Transgender woman beaten by bigots in Bushwick

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A transgender woman was beaten by four men on a Bushwick street at about 11:20 p.m. on Oct. 12, according to the police.

The attack, which police say occurred outside of 1250 Bushwick Ave. near Halsey Street and involved the perpetrators making “anti-gay statements,” is being investigated by the NYPD’s Hate Crime Task Force. The 28-year-old victim, whose name has not been released, was a client of New Alternatives for Homeless LGBT Youth. Kate Barnhart, the group’s executive director, said the victim was walking with a gay friend when the men approached “and asked what they were doing in the neighborho­od.”

“When they figured out from her voice that she was transgender, they starting calling her a ‘f----t’ and beating her with a two-by-four,” Barnhart said.

Media reports have cited NYPD sources describing the weapon as a plexiglass board.

The victim’s friend was able to escape without injury, Barnhart said. A bystander captured cellphone video of the incident and police retrieved surveillance video, as well as the weapon used in the attack, she said.

The victim is in stable condition, but it is not clear if she will suffer brain damage, according to Barnhart.

The victim was in critical condition at the time she was transported to Elmhurst Hospital Center in Queens, cops said.

The attack was the second apparent hate crime targeting gay and transgender people in Bushwick in a span of just more than two weeks.

Three men have been charged in connection with the shooting of a 22-year-old man on Sept. 27 at about 7 a.m. on Broadway near Putnam Avenue.

The victim identifies as a gay man and was, along with several friends, dressed in feminine clothing when they were approached by three men who yelled slurs including “f----t” and “tranny,” according to media reports, prosecutors, and the New York City Anti-Violence Project.

When the victim and his friends tried to escape, one of the suspects shot him in the buttocks. He was treated at Brookdale Hospital and released.

For that attack, police charged a 21-year-old with attempted murder, assault, criminal possession of a weapon, and menacing, all as hate crimes. A 22-year-old and a 17-year-old were charged with menacing and aggravated harassment, both as hate crimes.

Gay and transgender Bushwick residents rallied alongside neighbors, activists, and clergy members at the scene of the most recent assault on Tuesday night to share stories of harassment and call for an end to bias-fueled violence.

“I have to take a cab to performances. If I do not, I get harassed from the minute I walk out my door,” said drag performer Crimson Kitty, of Bushwick. “We have to take back our streets and get support for all walks of life.”

One religious leader who serves homeless gay and transgender youth at his Manhattan church said more people need to pitch in to keep streets safe for trans people.

“The trans community continues to feel left behind, and I want them to know that they have allies and support,” said priest Mark Erson, of Saint John’s Lutheran Church.

— with Paul Schindler

Reach reporter Danielle Furfaro at dfurfaro@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her at twitter.com/DanielleFurfaro.
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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