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The power the media hold to shape these narratives is profound. For example, LGBTQ Nation reported that, police cracked jokes about a transgender hate crime victim as she bled on the floor. But in fact, it wasn't a hate crime, it was just a regular, awful crime.
The article tells the story which occurred in late August, "Public health student Kendall Stephens was attacked in her Philadelphia home this past August by a crowd who called her a "tra**y" and a "man" and threatened to kill her. Now she's speaking out about how she was mistreated by police."
It reports that a woman charged at her, breaking into her home and, "The woman used slurs while she attacked, and then some men came into Stephens's house and joined the attack and called her epithets including the n-word, tra**y, and "man."
Stephens, who is black and a transgender woman, appears to have been at home. One report states her husband was away and another that he was at home with her at the time of the attack, along with two teenagers she describes as her goddaughters. Based on the details provided it looks as though a mob of transphobic racists surrounded her home and assaulted her based solely on her being transgender. In fact, this last bit of narrative is exactly how a local news reporter framed it on live TV. The reporter saying, "This woman was at her home, with her family, before she knew it a group of people outside kicking in her door, attack her… all because she is transgender."
She goes on to say that when the police arrived, they were "very unhelpful," "belligerent," and "unsympathetic." She and her husband went to the police station where she felt, "the same hostile energy" and said they "harassed me, trivialized my injuries, and cracked jokes with his subordinates while I bled onto the floor."
Speaking to the Human Rights Campaign, Stephens said, "I hope people understand that trans people everywhere are under siege due to rampant transphobia in the public. We were never safe outside of our homes, but now we are not even safe inside of our own homes, and though that may be impossible to fathom for the typical American, this is our reality."
But was this a case of a brutal, angry mob targeting and assaulting her because she was transgender, using racist and transphobic slurs? Security footage and details provided by the victim simply do not paint the same picture. According to both, Stephens heard a loud drunken group of people out on the street in front of her home. She went outside to investigate, telling them to quiet down and leave, and then she called 911. The group, as seen in the footage, was made up of black men and women and one woman is seen, and reported, to have charged towards Stephens shouting at her.
Between five and eight people from the street fight outside joined the woman and barged into her home to attack her. She described her injuries as, "[B]roken nose in two places, bruised right ribs, head contusion, facial swelling, busted lip and gums and broken gum vessels that caused two of my teeth to become necrotic."
It seems the first woman was the perpetrator of the beating and several men pulled her off and they left. Stephens called the police and they insisted she file a criminal complaint in order for them to investigate. She stated several of the people involved lived next door.
In the area, 35 people were shot and seven died in mid-August, 55 were shot a week prior and 355 people have died from gun violence so far this year with more than 1,500 being shot in the city. While the accusations of transphobic slurs cannot be confirmed, nor the accusations against the police, the incident reflects more situational urban violence than targeted hate. The fact both LGBT reports implied a racial element without context or linking to or showing the security footage further inflames a story that has more context than is being given.
Claiming that protections for LGBT people are not enforced, Stephens lamented "Unfortunately to many, trans lives do not matter. We have been categorically rendered invisible by the whole of society and without legislative protection that is uniform and permanent, the murders, the suicides, the attacks, the oppression, the discrimination, the hurt, pain, suffering and trauma will undoubtedly persist." But again, this is simply not validated by the facts. The police have not dismissed this case and an investigation is currently underway.
In fact, of the five confirmed hate crimes against transgender people four of the murderers have been convicted of their crimes and are serving decades in prison and the most recent, an 18 year old man who killed a transwoman he hooked up with not knowing she was male, has confessed to the crime and is awaiting prosecution. So what could be done to prevent what happened to Stephens, who was absolutely the victim of a crime? In truth, the answer violates many current leftwing "social justice" demands.
What Stephens experienced is something anyone living in the same area might face. The conservative response would be to advocate for more policing and self-defense with a personal firearm. This isn't an issue of race or sexuality or gender identity. Yet Stephens told the HRC, "We are not hurting anyone else by blossoming into who we are, yet somehow our existence is considered an affront to others and the reaction is to hurt and kill us. This is unacceptable and we need multiple layers of protection to endure."
Joe Biden recently advocated he would "prioritize" prosecution against anti-transgender violence. But after all the facts are sorted out, the narrative and the pandering simply do not reflect what is really happening.