SALEM, Ore. — June is Pride Month and as parades and festivals celebrate progress across the country, a recent attack in Salem is reminder of the very real dangers the LGBTQ community faces still today.
In early June, a transgender woman said she and her girlfriend were attacked in Salem by a man using transphobic slurs and threatening to kill them. Now, she is sharing her story to show that hate and fear will not stop her from being who she is.
“I'm scared. It's hard for me to go to sleep,” said Luci Stone
Stone says as a transgender woman she has been accosted by ignorant and hateful comments before. But an attack on June 3 has her afraid to leave the house alone.
"I'm used to people saying all of these rude things to me, but I never thought it would result in somebody trying to assault me or making any kind of death threats whatsoever,” Stone said.
Stone and her girlfriend were at The Salem Drop, a youth support organization on State Street, when she said 19-year-old Neil Arnold began harassing them.
“He was making sexual advances toward me and I was refusing, telling him, 'No, I would never do that,'" Stone said. “And he started to say some very transphobic things.”
Stone said the situation escalated when Arnold threatened her with a knife. Arnold was kicked out of The Salem Drop when Stone went to staff, but it did not end there. Arnold, who Stone said was once a friend, returned and broke a window, according to Stone.
“He left The Drop and he took one of those wooden construction signs and threw it through the window and it kind of spiraled out from there. Cops got involved,” Stone said.
Stone said she has had anxiety and nightmares since the attack, but she wanted to speak out to show others that they are not alone and to be themselves in the face of adversity.
“I want to be a face for the transgender community. I want to let them know that there’s somebody out there standing up for them. I want to be an activist. I don’t want people to hide themselves, hide their gender identity. I want people to walk out and be who they want to be,” Stone said.
Stone testified before a grand jury earlier this week. Charges of intimidation have since been dropped. However, Arnold faces felony charges of criminal mischief and unlawful use of a weapon.