PORTLAND, Ore. — Two transgender women have been attacked in Portland in the span of a week. Portland police said they are investigating the latest attack as a hate crime.
Atlas Marshall said she was attacked early Thursday morning at the food carts near West Burnside Street in Portland.
“We need to be more open to loving people and understanding that we are different and you may not understand who we are, but you should respect us,” Marshall said.
Marshall said she was targeted because she is transgender.
“He saw me, visibly could tell I was trans, I was queer, and he started throwing homophobic and transphobic slurs at me,” Marshall said.
The insults quickly turned into a physical attack. She said two men pinned her to the ground and started beating her. Her friend Austin Schuchard pulled one of the men off of her and ended up with a broken nose and black eye.
“It's been very emotional,” Schuchard explained. “I've never really experienced, first on hate like this before.”
“I think that it's really important that we understand that this isn't just something that happened to us, it's happening on a regular basis,” Marshall said.
The attack on Marshall happened just a week after another transgender woman, named Marla Standing-Owl, said she was attacked while driving for Lyft in Portland.
“He says something, refers to me, you’re nothing but a man,” Standing-Owl told KGW. “I told him I don’t need bigotry in my car and that’s when he snapped.”
Standing-Owl said while driving, the man hit her repeatedly in the head and neck. She was able to pull over and pepper spray the attacker, but he took off running.
At the end of August, Lauren Jackson, another transgender woman was attacked on the Oregon coast. Witnesses said her attacker hit her more than 10 times, fracturing her skull and jaw. Over the weekend, she spoke at a rally put on by Lincoln County Clergy United Against Hate.
"I am healing and I'm just honestly so grateful to everyone who has been so kind and I hope that you show that kindness to not only everybody else in all the other categories, but also show it to yourself,” Jackson told the crowd.
Basic Rights Oregon Executive Director Nancy Haque said attacks like these are scary for the entire community.
“I feel like the whole LGBTQ community needs to sort of put our arms around the most vulnerable, especially transgender women who are being under attack and especially African American or black transgender women who are the most likely to be killed,” Haque said.
In 2019 so far, 18 transgender women have been killed in the United States. In 2018, 26 transgender people died in violent attacks, the majority of whom were black transgender women, according to the Human Rights Campaign.
"I think that people are targeted because of who they are, how they appear, and it's really awful,” Haque said.
If we want Portland to be the inclusive community it appears to be, Haque and Marshall said we need to stand together against hate.
“I hope that we grow in tolerance and grow in kindness and we can setup these mechanisms, but what it really takes is people standing up against hate, and people standing up against violence, and saying not in our town, not on our watch, and really being there for each other,” Haque said.
“I treat people with kindness,” Marshall said. “I just want to be treated with the same.”