Viral footage of the brutal beating of a black transgender woman named Iyanna Dior on Monday has enraged activists, prompting nationwide calls for justice and awareness of the high rates of violence against black transgender women.
Dior, 21, was attacked by a mob in a Minneapolis gas station, reportedly after a fender bender. The city has been wracked by protests following the violent death of George Floyd in police custody last week. Footage of the attack, which Rolling Stone is not posting, has also been circulating on Twitter.
In a post on her Facebook, Dior said she needed time “to process everything that’s going on.” “Thanks to everyone reaching out making sure I’m OK, Imma talk real soon,” she wrote. She also posted her CashApp handle #NajaBabiie for those interested in supporting her.
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.
LGBTQ activists are sharing Dior’s story on social media as part of an effort to bring awareness to the increased rate of violence against black transgender people. According to the Human Rights Coalition, at least 26 transgender or gender non-conforming people were violently killed in 2019 alone, with the vast majority of the victims being black transgender women.
“This violence has got to stop. All of our hearts should hurt watching the videos of this young trans woman being hit by a group of people. Black lives matter and that includes trans, non-binary, queer, cis and straight Black lives,” Tori Cooper, director of community engagement for HRC’s Transgender Justice Initiative, tells Rolling Stone. “The time is now for us to make changes through an intersectional lens that includes all Black lives.”
Janet Mock also posted an impassioned message of support for Dior on Instagram, urging supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement to fight for the lives of black transgender women. “We must stop centering cisgender heterosexual men and their needs. We will not ignore the violence some of these men enact on you, our sisters’ and our siblings’ lives. If Black lives matter then Black trans lives should matter as well. We are here. We been here,” she wrote.