As we take to the streets to fight for George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor and countless other, we have to make sure that we don’t leave anyone behind.
One person we need to lift up is Iyanna Dior, a Black transgender woman who on June 1 was viciously attacked by a mob at a Minneapolis gas station, reportedly after a fender bender. She had been out protesting that day for Black lives.
According to Out, witnesses claim that a “crowd included anywhere from 15 to 30 cisgender assailants, mostly male,” were responsible for her beating, that was captured and video and later went viral. (HelloBeautiful will not be sharing the video of her attack.) No one stepped in to help her and no one has been arrested for her attack.
In a Facebook post, Dior, showing some of her bruises and cuts on her lips, wrote that she is doing “OK.”
“I just need some time to process everything that’s going on. Thanks to everyone reaching out making sure I’m ok. Imma talk real soon.”
As the violence against Black America is at the top of many of our minds, it’s not surprising that Dior’s attack encouraged many to take to social media to raise awareness.
On Instagram, transgender activist and Pose director, writer and producer Janet Mock wrote, “Sis, you’re still standing. I praise and uplift you. I’m sending you the strength of your sisters still standing too — and the ones who no longer could. They deserve rest, and we speak their names too. Iyanna, you are a black trans woman. What a gift! Don’t let nobody tell you otherwise.”
It’s tragic, and senseless and awful for this type of violence, which is not new or rare for our trans sistas. Dior, who was out there fighting for our lives, was attacked for having the courage to live her truth. That’s just not acceptable.
So if you want to help her right now, please donate to her CashApp account: $NajaBabiie.
But we can also do more because this transcends just one person. It’s not a secret that each year, Black trans women bear the burnt of transphobic violence and account for the majority of trans women killed. While you may say, “I am not hurting anyone,” please know that every time you misgender a trans woman, such as Zaya Wade, that is an act of violence. Every time you make jokes about trans women or turn an eye to the injustice that they face, or call them an abomination or try to out them to men, that is an act of violence. And act that helps perpetuate the type of violence that Iyanna had to endure.
So this means that we all have to do better, educate ourselves, uplift and reach out to other Black trans women. Most importantly, we have to listen to them and never lose sight that Black trans women are women too. They are our sisters, and if there was ever a time to stand up for them it’s now.
As we chant that Black lives matter, let’s promise to make sure that includes folks like Iyanna. Let’s make sure that when we are fighting to end violence in our community, we are also fighting for a better and more welcoming world that allows Black LGBTQ folks to live out their fullest and longest lives too.
We owe them that.