Both Candice Rose Milligan of Toledo, Ohio, and Kimy Hartman of Brooklyn, N.Y., made headlines recently for surviving brutal hate attacks by groups of men who yelled slurs and beat them for being transgender women.
Both women were ultimately released from the hospital after undergoing brain surgeries for the worst of their injuries, and while both are now home, they are still dealing with the ongoing pain and health repercussions of the attacks. Nevertheless, Milligan and Hartman have remained strong, and both spoke with local media recently to share messages with their attackers and communities.
Speaking to Toledo's WGTV during the local Transgender Day of Remembrance gathering on November 20, 32-year-old activist Candice Milligan said she tried not to think about how close she came to having her name read during TDOR vigils across the world, which memorialized more than 200 gender-nonconforming people and trans women killed by anti-trans violence this year.
"We're pretty much just like everyone else, you know? We kinda just want to go about our lives like everyone else," Milligan explained through a wired-shut jaw. "It's definitely difficult [to feel safe in Toledo] right now, but the response has definitely showed me there are a lot of good people in this town."
New York Daily News caught up with 28-year-old Kimy Hartman at home after she spent several weeks in the hospital following a vicious beating near her Bushwick, N.Y., home. Still suffering from brain damage, Hartman requires constant supervision at home, as well as 10 medications per day, intensive outpatient brain rehab, and additional neurosurgery to replace a missing portion of her skull.
Nonetheless alert and articulate, Hartman had a message about how much further her neighborhood needs to go in order to be truly safe for trans women.
"I'm okay with protecting myself. I'm used to it. It's not gonna end after this; it will continue to happen," Hartman told the Daily News. "This is something I'm used to. It is a shame in itself, and I don't think it's gonna change now. It might change in the future. ... The world is not black and white. There's a gray between black and white. Gay people [are] that gray."
In an interview with New York's WABC-TV, Hartman added that she has already forgiven her attackers for their ignorance, and would be friendly if she met them on the street.
Hear more from Milligan and Hartman in the videos below.