Statement from the Transgender Equal Rights Coalition in Response To the Savage Feb. 27 Attack of a Transgender Woman in Chelsea

Our thoughts and prayers are with the victim of this brutal crime, a transgender woman who was brought to Massachusetts General Hospital in critical condition after the attack. We hope her assailant is swiftly taken into custody and brought to justice.

We expect the Chelsea Police Department and the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office to fully investigate the circumstances of this horrific crime – including whether or not it was motivated by bias toward the victim based on her gender identity and expression. Transgender people are often targeted for hate violence and these crimes tend to be particularly violent – as was the assault on the victim in Chelsea. According to news reports, she was kicked repeatedly, dragged from her assailant’s car, and beaten with a chain.

As more facts about this savage attack become known, we call on the media to report accurately, fairly, and respectfully about the victim’s gender identity and expression. We encourage media outlets to focus on the brutal crime that was committed, and the motivation behind it, rather than sensationalizing the victim’s life.

The Transgender Equal Rights Coalition also calls on the state legislature to pass the Transgender Equal Rights Bill, which would add attacks motivated by bias against transgender people to the state’s hate crimes laws. The bill would also include transgender people in existing Massachusetts civil rights laws, which currently prohibit discrimination on the basis of age, race, creed, color, national origin, sexual orientation, sex, and marital status in the areas of employment, housing, public accommodations, education, and credit.

According to a statement from Suffolk County District Attorney Dan Conley, police are looking to speak to the driver of a four-door gray car, possibly a Nissan Altima or an Audi. Authorities believe the driver was a dark-haired man between 5 feet 7 inches and 5 feet 10 inches tall, with a medium build.

Anyone with information was urged to call Chelsea police detectives at 617-466-4843 or the Suffolk County State Police Detective Unit at 617-727-8817.

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The Transgender Equal Rights Coalition is working to pass “An Act Relative to Transgender Equal Rights,” which would add “gender identity and expression” to existing Massachusetts civil rights laws, which currently prohibit discrimination on the basis of age, race, creed, color, national origin, sexual orientation, sex, and marital status in the areas of employment, housing, public accommodations, education, and credit. The bill would also add offenses regarding gender identity or expression to the list of offenses that are subject to treatment as hate crimes. Members of the coalition include: Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition; MassEquality; Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders; National Association of Social Workers, MA; Mass Gay and Lesbian Political Caucus; National Organization for Women, MA; ACLU of Massachusetts; and Mass LGBTQ Bar Association.