December 2, By Laura A Shepard
Transgender and community advocates gathered at the Elmhurst 90th Street Station last night to speak out following Sunday’s brutal attack of Louisa Perez, a transgender woman in Jackson Heights.
Nearly a dozen people showed up to make it clear that they would not tolerate such violence.
“We want the community to know that we demand respect,” said Jennifer Louise Lopez, the executive director of Everything Transgender in NYC, which organized the event. “You have to respect us like you would anyone else because we’re just like anyone else except for the fact that we changed genders.”
Louisa Perez, 35, who also goes by the name Kathy, was brutally attacked outside her home in Jackson Heights around 4 a.m. on Sunday morning. She is currently at Elmhurst hospital recovering from her injuries.
“She’s not ok,” Lopez said. “She’s in a lot of pain and you can tell she’s in a lot of pain.”
Protesters gathered at the subway station in the drizzling rain and marched to 37th Avenue chanting in English and Spanish “When transgender lives are under attack what do we do? Stand up! Fight back!” or “Trans Lives Matter!” and “We’re here! We’re trans! We’re fabulous, don’t fuck with us!”
“This is not going to be tolerated in New York City,” Lopez said. “It’s outrageous.”
Perez’s best friend Paula Ramirez described Perez as very quiet, a nice person and said that she does not have any family members in New York.
“We’re here to improve, to stop the hate crimes and transphobia,” Ramirez said.
Another chant, “not one more,” referred to the murders and deaths of transgender people, like Islan Nettles, who was beaten to death in Harlem in Aug. 2013.
Bianey Garcia, the LGBTQ Justice Project Organizer for Make the Road NY, said that violence against transgender people is not always reported because victims are afraid to go to the police.
“The police need to take trans people seriously and respect us,” Lopez said.
“I organized this rally to show this community that this will not be tolerated and to let the media know that we’re not men dressed in women’s clothes,” she said. “We’re women dressed in women’s clothes.”
Another rally will be held at 92-10 Roosevelt Avenue on Thurs. Dec. 3, at 4 p.m.