A transgender man in Cleveland, Ohio was attacked -- beaten with a chain -- after leaving a bus in the city, and he says he was so traumatized he considered suicide.
Myles Utz, 28, was leaving a bus in downtown Cleveland November 16 and mentioned to the driver that he was trans, he told TV station WOIO in a segment that aired Tuesday. The man behind him overheard the exchange, followed Utz off the bus, and began threatening him.
"He's like, 'I don't care what you say, it's how you act. You say those kind of words, it'll get you killed out here!' I'm like, 'What are you talking about?'" Utz recalled.
The man pulled out a chain and began hitting one of Utz's legs with it, in front of three witnesses at the bus stop. The attacker then took a bike down from the front of the bus and fled. Utz's ankle was swollen, so police took him to an emergency room for examination.
"It's still swollen; I can barely walk," Utz said. "I had to use [an] air cast for almost four or five days. In the hospital, I couldn't use it because I almost committed suicide because of it, you know, I almost killed myself. I almost killed myself because of this guy."
Police are investigating the attack as a hate crime.
Utz said he often feels unsafe in the city. He is comfortable only in the area around the LGBT Center of Cleveland. Eliana Turan, a trans woman who serves on the center's board, commented on the frequency of anti-trans violence.
"I've known so many trans people who you know would walk in the center or, you know, approach me, and they would share stories about getting beat up, getting robbed, getting jumped, being threatened, getting stalked," Turan told WOIO. "That, unfortunately, is just part of daily life as a trans person in general and unfortunately, especially here in Cleveland."
Utz added, "I could shed a tear, but you know what, I'm a man, a trans man, and I'm gonna be strong for people and be strong for those who don't have a voice, who can't speak, who won't speak up because they've been assaulted and been beaten."