New York police are hunting for a suspect after a transgender woman was raped at the city’s iconic Stonewall Inn.
Authorities were alerted on Saturday night, after a 25-year-old victim was cornered inside a unisex bathroom in the bar – which was the birthplace of the early gay rights movement.
The woman says that she was inside the bathroom of the Christopher Street bar at around 11:40 PM when a man forced his way in.
At first the man claimed he needed to wash his hands – but he proceeded to grope and rape the victim, according to Gothamist, before fleeing the scene.
Police are hunting for “a man in his 30s” over the attack, and is known to frequent the bar on Saturdays. No arrests have so far been made.
The victim was taken to Lenox Hospital for treatment.
The Stonewall Inn’s co-owner Stacy Lentz said: “We are deeply saddened by the news of an allegation of sexual assault against a member of our community.
“That violence like this has allegedly happened even in a safe space like Stonewall Inn is upsetting and we are working closely with the police to investigate this alleged isolated incident at Stonewall, as we continue to work with the greater LGBTQ community to increase visibility, safety and acceptance for all transgender people and all members of our community.”
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio told CBS reporters: “It’s a very disturbing incident taking place in a site that is very important historically, and where something good happened in terms of creating more opportunity for people to live their lives.
“To see a violent incident like this is very, very troubling…. I have confidence based on the information the chief just indicated that we will apprehend this individual.”
The bar was designated as a historic landmark in 2015 in recognition of its importance to LGBT history – protecting the site in its current form. The 1969 Stonewall riots were sparked by a police raid of the bar, leading to early gay rights protests. Many Pride events across Europe are still known as ‘Christopher Street Day’ in honour of the Stonewall Inn.
Anyone with information about the incident can contact the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477).