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Woman Knocked Unconscious in Anti-Trans Attack in Charleston

Crime scene

The assailant reportedly used anti-trans slurs before striking the woman and her sister.

A transgender woman and her sister were attacked by a man using anti-trans slurs in Charleston, S.C., last week, with the trans woman being knocked out when she went to her sister's defense.

The women and another companion were leaving the Deco Nightclub in downtown Charleston about 2 a.m. August 19 when the man confronted them, local newspaper The Post and Courier reports. The incident continued in the Charleston Visitor Center parking garage, where the man kicked the transgender woman's sister in the stomach as the group exited an elevator. The trans woman tried to defend her sister, and the man punched her in the head, causing her to lose consciousness.

The attacker ran off through the garage before police arrived. When they got to the scene, the trans woman was lying face down and bleeding. She soon regained consciousness and was taken to a local hospital for treatment.

Last Friday, when police first released information about the attack, they said they did not believe it was motivated by anti-trans bias, The Post and Courier reports. But Tuesday, they offfered additional details, saying an interview with the trans woman at the hospital revealed the assailant had used slurs, the paper notes. The officer who responded at the scene did not have this information. The police have also obtained surveillance video from the scene. No arrests have been made, and the victims' names have not been made public.

The trans woman, who is 34, has been released from the hospital, and she returned to work Tuesday, Chase Glenn, executive director of the local activist group Alliance for Full Acceptance, told The Post and Courier. "She obviously is shaken up by this, understandably," he said.

His group seeks to assure the investigation is thorough and to encourage other victims of hate crimes to come forward. "We know that instances like this unfortunately instill the climate of fear that exists within the transgender community ... and contributes to their resistance to reporting instances of violence," he said. "We hope to create visibility for this issue."

Charleston police have not reported a hate crime to the FBI, which keeps statistics on such crimes, since the 2015 mass shooting at Emanuel AME Church, a largely African-American congregation, the newspaper reports. White supremacist Dylann Roof was convicted of the racially motivated murder of nine people at the church, and he awaits execution.

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