The LGBTQ Center of Long Beach has learned of two incidents impacting the public safety, security, and dignity of the transgender community in Long Beach. On March 20, 2016 a transgender woman was attacked, including being stabbed, by at least two assailants. The victim has survived and two assailants were quickly arrested and charged with hate crimes enhancements. Last week, the two suspects plead guilty to assault with a deadly weapon with hate crimes enhancements and immediately sentenced to prison terms of four and three years. Additionally, on March 29, 2016 a transgender man filed a civil complaint against Hawleywood’s Barber Shop (2234 E. 4th Street Long Beach, CA 90814) alleging that he was refused service because he is transgender.
The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs’ 2014 Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and HIV-Affected Hate Violence Report notes a 13% increase in hate violence attacks targeting transgender people in the United States. Additionally, more than half (55%) of all hate violence murder victims were transgender women. The Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations 2014 Hate Crime Report states that there were 15 gender-based hate crimes reported to their agency. Of those, all were committed against transgender women and 93% were of a violent nature.
“Simply walking down the street or entering a store should not lead to violence in our community or any community,” says The Center’s Executive Director Porter Gilberg. “Unfortunately transgender people continue to experience alarming rates of violence in the County and this hate crime a wakeup call for Long Beach to look at what we can be doing better to protect the safety of our transgender community.”
In addition to elevated rates of violence experienced by transgender people, The National LGBTQ Task Force and National Center for Transgender Equality’s Transgender Discrimination Survey notes that more than half of survey respondents reported experiencing harassment and discrimination in public accommodations.
“It is appalling that any business in Long Beach would refuse to serve someone because they are transgender” says Gilberg. “Refusing service to someone based on gender or gender identity isn’t just blatantly illegal, it’s also a shameful and cowardly act of entitlement. Businesses who discriminate have no place in Long Beach.”
The Center provides free support to victims of hate crimes and those who feel they have experienced discrimination. For more information on The Center’s services the community can call 562.434.4455, visit www.centerlb.org, or visit their physical location at 2017 E. 4th Street Long Beach, CA 90814.