Alecia Abel, a trans woman living in the small town of Newberry, Florida, recently had her garage vandalized with a threat and a slur.
‘Move or die, t*anny f*ck,’ the black spray paint read.
This vandalism came just weeks after Abel began to medically transition.
Abel’s wife, Liz, told The Gainesville Sun how the couple was ‘startled’ upon being woken by deputies who discovered the graffiti on Friday, 7 September.
Additionally, Liz noted that someone issued a similar threat on a sticky note to them the day before.
‘Thursday morning we found a little post-it note that said move or die that’s all it said. By 3 am the next morning they hadn’t even given us a chance to move, our garage door had been spay painted move or die,’ Liz Abel said.
‘[Alecia] only recently came out as a trans woman a few months ago and this situation is very surprising considering we haven’t been out and about and we don’t really bother anybody it’s very shocking.’
Newberry, Florida is located west of Gainesville. The population of the town is only about 6,000.
The Abel family, luckily, has seen the support of fellow Newberry residents. Neighbors have been offering to paint over the graffiti and even to install a security camera in the couple’s home.
One resident, a fellow trans woman named Melina Farley-Barrat, organized a protest of trans violence.
‘It’s about changing the culture, people like us who have the ability to show up and be present and say I’m here and I count and I matter,’ Farley-Barrat told WCJB. ‘That’s important for those that just don’t understand to be able to learn from and if we don’t do that then the culture doesn’t change.’
‘It’s just really sad and frustrating it angers me, I mean the whole move or die. I was born at Shands I graduated from Newberry high where one of my kids goes today. This is as much my town as anyone else.’
In light of this incident, a transgender support group called Tranquility has begun to meet. The group meets every fourth Monday at the Health Street Station in Newberry.
The mayor of Newberry even called the couple personally to apologize for the vandalism.
‘When I called them, first and foremost, I wanted to know that they were safe. I have respect for [the sheriff’s office] but I wanted to be sure they were taking the threat seriously and everything that could be done to ensure their safety was being done,’ Mayor Jordan Marlowe reportedly said.
As for Liz and Alecia Abel, the couple says they have no intention of moving.
‘I’m not going to move because of this,’ Liz stated. ‘If we move, this is not why.’
The Newberry police department is still searching for the perpetrators.