Video Highlights The Dangers Trans People Face on a Daily Basis

May 3rd 2016

Alex Mierjeski

Pearl Love, a New York City social worker was allegedly harassed on the subway recently because she is transgender, according to a video on her Facebook. Love was on her way to a work event when the woman sitting across from her began physically and verbally attacking her.

Trans woman attacked on subway

"I was on 6 train from Bronx to the LGBT center to work , when I change 6 train to 4 express train in 125 st station an unknown woman sitting across me starter [sic] to verbally abuse me," the post reads. Love, who identified herself as "an Asian transgender woman," added that although the train car was crowded, no one offered help — even as the exchange became physical.

"As you can see it's definitely a hate crime. She attacked me inside the train. When I retreated she threw all my stuff on the floor and chased me around the train and say she is going to find a stick to hit me. It was a crowded train and everyone heard it but no one helped me. Guys acting like nothing happened. For 5 min."

Here's the full video.

The video, which shows the assailant yelling racist, trans-, and homophobic slurs at Love, before ultimately jumping up to attack her, is a disturbing display of what actualized anti-trans rhetoric can look like. But perhaps what's more disturbing is the regularity with which Love claims these events happen.

"So now you can understand what's happening in my everyday life," the post reads. "That happens all the time. But it's my first time recording it."

Trans woman attacked on subway

Aggressive outbursts against transgender people on public transportation are nothing new, even on New York subways. But Love's case highlights a broader pattern of violence brought specifically against minority transgender women. According to a report from the National Center for Transgender Equality, 33 transgender women were murdered between 2013 and 2015. In nearly all of those cases, the victims were transgender Black and Latina women, the report found.


Taken with Love's video, the numbers paint a troubling picture of the struggles transgender people, especially transgender women who are minorities, face on daily basis. And as a national debate roils over transgender peoples' access to public bathrooms, they also present a stark picture of those who faces the most risk.

Proponents of so-called "bathroom bills" say that allowing transgender people to use restrooms according to their gender preference puts others — namely women and young girls — at risk for sexual assault. Despite almost no evidence of such crimes occurring, those fears continue to trump those of communities who face actual risk.