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Two trans women allegedly attacked with pepper spray in Queens

Two trans women allegedly attacked with pepper spray in Queens

Two trans women speak out about the violent pepper spray attack

Two trans women of color were allegedly attacked with pepper spray in the Jackson Heights neighborhood of Queens.

What happened?

Bianey Garcia and Norma Ureiro are both transgender activists with the group Make The Road NY. They were filming a documentary in Jackson Heights about harassment faced by the trans community when the hate crime occurred.

According to police, the filmmakers were approached by an ‘irate woman’ at 2:30 am on Saturday, 29 June. She allegedly made transphobic remarks before using pepper spray to attack the two filmmakers.

Gothamist reports that the alleged perpetrator has been identified as 24-year-old Paula Custodio. Custodio was subsequently arrested and charged with assault as a hate crime and harassment.

During a rally in Queens the following Monday (1 July), Garcia stated that Custodio was only arrested because she got aggressive with the police. Garcia also claims that officers refused to take action against a man at the scene who took part in the confrontation as well. The man in question allegedly assumed the two activists were sex workers and threatened to ‘make [them] pay,’ should they return. In response, the police advised the filmmakers to shoot on a different block.

The second attack

Less than an hour later, that same man allegedly pepper sprayed Garcia in the face. This second, more violent attack led to Garcia being hospitalized.

‘We were ignored by the police,’ says Ureiro. ‘When I told the police they threatened us, the police ignored us.’

Anything else?

This incident occurred at the height of Pride month and amid WorldPride festivities in New York City. Despite the celebrations, an estimated one-in-four trans people are assaulted because of their identities, with trans women of color most likely to face violence.

Along with the rise in anti-transgender hate crimes, the Trump Administration is continuing its attack on the trans community. Most recently, the Administration published its plan to eliminate transgender healthcare protections.

See Also

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