New York City is home to 8.5 million people from different backgrounds who all speak countless languages. Although the city is known for its acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community, there are still unfortunate incidents that happen.
On March 17, two transgender women were verbally and physically attacked by a man in Jackson Heights, Queens.
As Nayra and Gabriela, as they were identified, were entering a McDonald’s, a stranger began shouting insults at them.
“He called us prostitutes, faggots, bitches,” Gabriela told The New York Times. “I looked at him and said, ‘Girl, this man is crazy.’ He wanted to hurt us.”
But it didn’t stop there. The man, who would later be identified as Patrick Omeara, rushed them, causing them to fall. Nayra fractured her ankle while Gabriella was beat on her face and hands by a broken umbrella.
Despite the attack happening at a popular spot, they say that no one came to their rescue.
Even though Gabriela was hurt, she chased Omeara when he tried to escape and slowed him down by grabbing his waistband until the police arrived.
The Puerto Ricans found the police officers who arrived on the scene to be helpful, but couldn’t say the same for the detectives who followed up with them at the hospital.
The Latinas felt that their repetitive questioning meant they didn’t believe their story. There was also a language barrier. The two transgender women speak limited English while the detectives spoke no Spanish.
Now, both women live in fear. Nayra doesn’t go outside unless it’s necessary.
I have appointments, I’ll take a taxi and come back home,” the 31-year-old
said. “I don’t want to see anybody. If I do, I freeze. If I go outside to smoke
and I hear a man’s voice, I panic.”
On the other hand, Gabriela does go outside but experiences the daily fear many other women have walking down the street. The 33-year-old said:
“We never had anything happen to us before. Now I walk with fear, like any woman. But now I pay more attention to what I hear around me. I notice more. I look at every little thing. If a couple of people pass by too close to me on the street, I keep walking, wait a little and then look back at them quickly to see if anyone is following me.”