Things That Matter

A Black Trans Woman Named Iyanna Dior Was Viciously Attacked By A Mob And Now She’s Speaking Out

As the nation reacted to the brutal murder of George Floyd and were forced to process yet another killing of an unarmed Black man, a Black trans woman was violently attacked by a mob in the same city George Floyd was killed.

Iyanna Dior, a Black trans woman – just 21-years-old, was brutally attacked by a group of 20-30 cis-gender men, who kicked, punched, and violently attacked her. Her attack is just the most recent in a string of attacks targeting the transgender community – especially Black trans people. A Black trans woman must face anti-Blackness within the LGBTQ community while also struggling against transphobia within the community at large – it’s a fight that many are being attacked over.

So, as the country struggles over violence against black bodies, attention must be paid to the everyday violence faced by Black trans people, especially trans women, too.

A group of men attacked Iyanna Dior, a 21-year-old Black trans woman, in Minneapolis.

As the U.S. sees massive protests and a growing movement bringing attention to systemic racism, the country is also being forced to face another fact: that Black trans people are being brutally attacked and killed.

Yet another video has gone viral, showing a group of 20-30 men attacking a Black trans woman in Minneapolis. The woman, 21-year-old Iyanna Dior, had been involved in a fender bender and was chased and beaten by bystanders after being unable to pay for the damage.

In the video, the mob was shown violently beating Dior as they called her homophobic and transphobic slurs outside of a convenience store. Dior eventually escaped from her attackers after bystanders intervened by standing between her and the group. She then slipped behind the store counter and out the back door.

A day after the attack, Dior took to Facebook to say she is OK, showing her extensive injuries.

Credit: Iyanna Dior / Facebook

“The whole side of my face is swollen. It hurts so bad. On my forehead, if you run your hands across it, these are knots. That’s a whole patch of scratches,” she said in the video. “My f—ing arm is just swollen, it hurts so bad. I need to go to the hospital. My lips are cut on the inside. A lot of s— happened.”

She followed the Facebook Live with a post that read,“BLACK TRANS LIVES MATTER.”

Dior’s attack comes just as the country is reeling from several high-profile murders of Black Americans – many of whom have been trans.

The beating of Dior comes on the tail end of the fatal police shooting of Tony McDade, a 38-year-old black trans man in Tallahassee, Florida, which has sparked protests among the LGBTQ community.

Activists have also brought attention to the murder of Nina Pop, 28, who was found dead in her apartment in Missouri early last month. Both McDade and Pop were initially misgendered by police departments when they released information about their deaths.

Experts have long been warning about an “epidemic” of violence against trans women of color.

In 2019, 26 transgender and non-binary people were murdered, according to the Human Rights Campaign. And of those 26, 91% were Black women. Let that sink in for a moment.

It’s obvious that the U.S. is in a crisis – especially when it comes to the systemic attacks against Black trans people. Following the now viral video of Dior’s attack, several high-profile Black trans women have taken to social media to voice their support for her and to bring awareness to the growing epidemic of violence.

The crisis is so bad that just last year, the American Medical Association adopted new policies intended to put an end to an “epidemic” of violence against trans women, particularly trans women of color. The organization, which counts 250,000 US medics as members, called on healthcare workers to recognize these attacks as a public health issue, urging medics to document violence against trans people, and collaborate with law enforcement on investigations into abuses. 

So far in 2020, according to the Human Rights Campaign, at least 12 transgender or gender-nonconforming people have been killed.

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More Anti-Trans Bills Have Been Introduced in 2021 Than Any Year in History

Things That Matter

More Anti-Trans Bills Have Been Introduced in 2021 Than Any Year in History

Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Trans rights are under siege in over half of the United States this year, as 28 states have proposed one or more anti-trans bills. The bills range from banning trans children from playing on sports teams to prohibiting doctors from giving trans youth life-saving care. 

Despite winning the White House and both houses of Congress, we cannot grow complacent. Now is the time for others from the LGBTQ community and allies to stand up and protect our trans brothers and sisters.

At least 28 states have proposed anti-trans legislation that could severely harm the community.

Less than three months into the new year, Republican lawmakers have already introduced a record number of anti-trans bills across the country.

According to a report published Monday by Axios, at least 73 pieces of legislation have already been put forward in state legislatures targeting members of the transgender community. Of those proposals, 65 specifically single out trans youth, such as bills prohibiting the kinds of medical care doctors can offer trans minors and others seeking to limit the participation of trans student athletes in school sports. 

Notable examples include legislative efforts by South Dakota and Mississippi, both of which passed bills in the past week blocking trans girls from competing in school athletics in accordance with their gender identity. After being approved by their respective Houses and Senates, their governors have vowed to sign them.

These would be the first bills of their kind to become law in the U.S. after numerous attempts to pass anti-trans sports bills in previous years. In 2019, a bill targeting trans student athletes failed in the South Dakota House by just one vote.

LGBTQ+ advocates are warning that the influx of this type of legislation will harm trans and nonbinary youth.

Trans advocates and experts argue that bills like this do not protect young trans people, and recent studies support this. In February, the Center for American Progress (CAP) released a report which argued that banning the trans community from certain sports programs would deprive an entire group of people of the benefits of athletics, including lower risks of depression, anxiety, and drug use. Despite so many states introducing legislation targeting trans youth in sports, the report also found that the argument of an “unfair advantage” does not actually hold up to data-driven scrutiny.

“This has been a significant part of my work at the ACLU for the past six years and I’ve never seen anything like this,” Chase Strangio, deputy director for transgender justice at the ACLU, told CNN. “There have never been this many bills targeting trans youth voted out of committee and then making it to the floor.”

There is widespread opposition to anti-trans bills, and not just from LGBTQ+ civil rights groups. More than 55 major corporations have endorsed a statement against these bills and anti-LGBTQ+ legislation in general; they include Facebook, Pfizer, Microsoft, AT&T, Apple, Dell, American Airlines, and many more. Nearly 550 college athletes have signed a letter to the National Collegiate Athletic Association demanding that championship games be pulled from states that have anti-trans sports laws or are close to enacting them. More than 1,000 child welfare groups have taken a stand against legislation that would keep trans youth out of school sports or deny them health care.

States that enact anti-LGBTQ+ legislation often experience boycotts, as was the case with North Carolina and its anti-trans “bathroom bill” in 2016 and Indiana with its discriminatory religious freedom law in 2015. The former has now been repealed, the latter amended.

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The Lead Investigator In Derek Chauvin Case Says He Heard George Floyd Incorrectly

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The Lead Investigator In Derek Chauvin Case Says He Heard George Floyd Incorrectly

Stephanie Keith / Getty

Updated April 7, 2021.

The opening statements of Derek Chauvin’s criminal trial took place in late March and revealed shocking details on the case of George Floyd. One of the biggest revelations came from the prosecuting attorney Jerry Blackwell that Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck for 9 minutes and 29 seconds rather than the commonly believed 8 minutes and 46 seconds. In addition to this, is the reveal that it was in fact a 911 dispatcher who witnessed George Floyd’s death last May.

Watching the incident through a nearby police camera, Jena Scurry was in fact the person who called the police on the police officer.

Jena Scurry is the dispatcher who first raised the alarm about Floyd’s death.

“You’re going to learn that there was a 911 dispatcher. Her name is Jena Scurry,” special prosecutor Jerry Blackwell stated during an opening statement on behalf of the state “There was a fixed police camera that was trained on this particular scene. She could see through the camera what was going on. You will learn that what she saw was so unusual and, for her, so disturbing that she did something that she had never done in her career.”

Watching what was happening, Scurry reportedly became so worried by what she saw Chauvin and the three other officers taking part in that she called Minneapolis Sgt. David Pleoger. Ultimately it was Pleoger who managed the officers involved in the murder

“My instincts were telling me something was wrong,” Scurry explained to prosecutors that took place during the trial at Hennepin County Courthouse this past Monday. “It was a gut instinct of the incident: Something is not going right. Whether it be they needed more assistance. Just something wasn’t right.”

Scurry testified that while she could not remember when she called police she was moved to take action after an uncomfortable “extended period of time.” 

At one point, the defense noted that it took some time for Scurry to call Chauvin’s sergeant. In fact, it took nearly 30 minutes from when the dispatcher received the first 911 call about Floyd. She also stated during her testimony that she became concerned when she saw the police vehicle “rocking bath and forth” while Floyd was inside.

Scurry was actually one of “at least three people who called for police intervention as she watched Chauvin kneel on Floyd’s neck for 9 minutes and 29 seconds during his May 25 arrest outside a downtown convenience store, according to Blackwell,” according to CNN.

On the eighth day of Chauvin’s criminal trial, the special agent who led investigation into George Floyd’s death changed his mind on what he thought he heard Floyd say while Chauvin was kneeling on his neck.

Senior Special Agent James Reyerson who led the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension was shown a clip from Minneapolis Police body-camera footage of Floyd during his murder. In the clip, Floyd can be heard something while handcuffed, his stomach pressed to the ground.

“Did it appear that Mr. Floyd said, ‘I ate too many drugs?” Chauvin’s defense attorney Eric Nelson asked Reyerson.

“Yes, it did,” Reyerson replied.

After, what CNN describes as “a short break,” the prosecution played an extended clip of the video for for Reyerson.

“Having heard it in context, are you able to tell what Mr. Floyd is saying there?” the prosecutoing attorney Matthew Frank asked.

“Yes, I believe Mr. Floyd was saying, ‘I ain’t do no drugs,” Reyerson replied.

Top-ranking police officials from the Minneapolis Police Department, including the city’s police chief, testified that Chauvin’s use of force against George Floyd was a violation of protocols.

Police Chief Medaria Arradondo, Lt. Richard Zimmerman, and Chauvin’s currently-retired former supervisor, Sgt. David Pleoger, testified against him this week during his murder trial for his murder of Floyd. Arradondo testified against Chauvin on Monday said that he “vehemently disagreed” with Chauvin’s use of force against Floyd on May 25, 2020.

“There’s an initial reasonableness in trying to get him under control in the first few seconds,” Arradondo told the jury. “But once there was no longer any resistance — and clearly when Mr. Floyd was no longer responsive and even motionless — to continue to apply that level of force to a person prone down, handcuffed behind their back … that in no way, shape, or form is part of our policy, is not part of our training, and is not part of our ethics and values.”

The prosecution team played bystander video of Floyd’s murder during the opening statement and accused Chauvin of violating the oath of his badge.

The prosecutor stated that he also betrayed his post when he refused to help Floyd when he pleaded “I can’t breathe.”

“We plan to prove to you that he’s anything other than innocent,” Blackwell said in his statement.

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