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With all the good news about DOMA being struck down and the death knell of Proposition 8, it is easy for non-LGBT people to think that the battle is over, for all intents and porpoises.  Sorry to inform you that is not the case.  The hate porpoise is alive and well.

And nowhere is that more apparent than among transwomen of color.  The only thing new and different this time is that the victims survived and there are suspects in custody.

 photo Bree_Wallace_Stabbed_Washington_DC_Transgender_Trans_Woman_zps73d9774a.jpgBree Wallace is a 29-year-old transgender woman of color.  Last Friday, at about 1am, she received a text message from an acquaintance asking her to meet him in an abandoned apartment in southeastern washington, DC.  She made a bad decision.

Wallace and her acquaintance entered through a door that was detached from its hinges.  Then the man stabbed her…at least 40 times to her back, chest, and hands…for no known reason.

Wallace managed to escape and ran several blocks to her apartment building, where she collapsed in the street.  Neighbors called 911.  She was taken to Prince George's Hospital Center.

I don’t know why he did it.  He didn’t say anything.

--Bree Wallace

Wallace is in serious but stable condition.  She told the police who her attacker was.
The investigation has revealed that this assault with intent to kill was neither random nor a hate crime.

--Gwendolyn Crump, police spokesperson

Were those really 40 love taps, Gwendolyn?

According to local trans-activists Earline Budd and Ruby Corado, who both know Wallace, Wallace told them she and her attacker had known each other casually prior to the attack.  Corado said that at some point Wallace declined the man's request for a romantic and/or sexual relationship.

I guess that allows police to conclude that she wasn't attacked because she is transgender, but only because she was transgender and refused sex.  Totally different.  

Wallace is a client at Casa Ruby, an LGBT community center run by Corado.

Wallace was recently among 12 contestants chosen as a trans "calendar girl" in a fundraising contest to showcase Casa Ruby's program to train make-up artists.  

Wallace has also been one of the clients at Transgender Health Empowerment, run by Budd, which is currently not operating because of financial problems.

Complainant 1 [the victim] stated that she had met with Suspect 1 at the event location to buy a cigarette.  According to Complainant 1, Suspect 1 then suddenly started to stab Complainant 1 for unknown reasons.

--the police report

Police originally refused to confirm whether or not they had made an arrest, even though Wallace had identified the attacker.
I just want to make sure that it gets out there, that this attack happened and how brutal it was.  And also the message needs to be sent that transgender folks need to be very, very cautious in terms of their surroundings, who they are talking to and especially in the nighttime hours.

--Earline Budd

On Monday police finally confirmed that they had a suspect in custody, having been arrested on an unrelated assault.

Meanwhile out in Hollywood, CA, the lawyer for the man accused of beating a transwoman is claiming that his client acting in self-defense.

Nicol, Shakhnazaryan, 21, pleaded not guilty on Monday to charges that he assaulted Vivian Diego, 22.  Outside the courtroom, the suspects lawyer told reporters that his client was simply trying to protect himself.

This was done in self-defense after a weapon was drawn and people were stabbed.  A box cutter was found with the victim, on the victim at the time.

--Shakhnazaryan's lawyer

No box cutter was mentioned in the police report, nor was there confirmation that anyone was stabbed.

There's more to the story than the way the media and the way the prosecution has relayed that it's a hate crime, where they just assaulted this person.  The victim is not your typical victim.  The evidence will show the victim is the person who assaulted the defendant and his friends.

--George Mgdesyan

Surveillance footage captures a group of four men trailing Diego, then grouping together to speak as a group, before Shakhnazaryan crossed a street and knocked Diego down before kicking her.  Then the other three men crossed the street and kicked her repeatedly before they all ran off along the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

The FBI is assisting in the search for the other three suspects.

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