News by VICE

Trans woman recovering from hatchet attack in North Carolina

by Tess Owen
Nov 15 2016, 1:20pm

Local and federal authorities are investigating a recent attack on a transgender woman in Charlotte, North Carolina, who was chased and stabbed with a hatchet by three people hurling slurs.

The 24-year-old victim, Ralayzia Taylor, is recovering from serious injuries sustained in the Nov. 7 attack. She told WSOC-TV that a group of three people began jogging toward her at 10:30 a.m. last Monday in a west Charlotte neighborhood. She dropped her phone as she started to run; her assailants caught up to her in the woods near a park and stabbed her three times.

“I couldn’t even move,” Taylor said. WSOC-TV viewed the police report, which said at least one of the suspects was wielding a hatchet. “After the third time of that knife being stabbed in my back, I’m just like, ‘Oh, I don’t think I can do it.’”

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police arrested three individuals, two men and one woman, ranging in age from 15 to 18, in connection to the attack.

LGBT individuals are not protected under North Carolina’s hate crime statutes, which has become a flashpoint for transgender civil rights, triggered by the fight over whether trans individuals should be permitted to use a bathroom in accordance with their preferred gender. At the national level, president-elect Trump weighed in earlier this year that transgender people should “use the bathroom they feel is appropriate.”

The latest FBI hate crime data, released Monday, shows that anti-trans violence is on the rise, though the bureau only began tracking it in 2013. According to the latest FBI stats, there were 75 attacks against transgender people in 2015, up from 69 in 2014 and 24 in 2013.

The FBI data says one transgender person was murdered in a hate crime in 2015. However, according to data collected by Human Rights Watch, at least 21 transgender individuals were killed in 2015 in violent attacks by strangers, acquaintances, or partners.

North Carolina is one of 23 states that either have no hate crime law or have hate crime laws that do not apply to gender identity. As a result, a homicide of a trans person in one of those states will only show up in the FBI’s hate-crime database if the case goes to a federal court.

Federal authorities are reportedly working with Charlotte-Mecklenburg police to investigate the attack.