A 25-year-old transgender woman says she was raped Saturday inside a single-occupancy unisex bathroom at the Stonewall Inn bar on Christopher Street in New York City, reports Gothamist.
The New York City Police Department has not identified the woman. The woman told police that around 11:40 p.m., a man “came into the bathroom claiming he only needed to wash his hands, then proceeded to grope and rape her,” according to Gothamist.
The man then “fled the scene” and the victim also left the bar and then returned to phone the police, the site reports. The victim was taken to Lenox Hospital for treatment. Police have made no arrests, but are “looking for a man in his 30s,” says Gothamist.
The incident at one of the world’s most iconic sites of LGBT liberation comes amid rising violence towards transgender and gender-nonconforming people in the greater New York City area.
Even before the bar became a permanent historic landmark, it has long represented openness and acceptance for transgender and gender-fluid individuals, advocates say. When patrons fought back against a police raid in 1969, an event that gave rise to the modern LGBT rights movement, many of the participants were trans or gender-nonconforming.
The incident comes during a time of heightened tensions surrounding so-called bathroom bills like the recently signed anti-LGBT legislation in North Carolina that purports — albeit falsely, advocates insist — to protect the public from transgender people who simply wish to use the bathroom that reflects their gender identity. Advocates say that transphobic claims concerning bathrooms are particularly specious because there are exactly zero reported cases of transgender people attacking cisgender people in bathrooms.
Yet, as this one incident of alleged rape suggests — and several other incidents of violence against transgender individuals make clear — transgender people face grave danger when accessing public accommodations and gender-variant people are 3.7 times more likely to face violence than cisgender (nontrans) people.
The NYPD did not respond to requests for comment by press time.