A transgender woman has opened up about her terrifying experience of being assaulted by a group of men at a rally in Paris on Sunday.
The woman—who has only been publicly identified by her first name, Julia—was making her way through a crowd at a protest against Algeria’s president in Place de la République when the attack occurred, according to BBC News.
Lyes Alouane, who works with Stop Homophobie, filmed the incident and posted it online, where it has since gone viral.
The 31-year-old transgender woman said she was on her way down to the metro when the attack occurred.
Julia can be seen being punched repeatedly in the video
In the video, Julia can be seen walking up steps when a man reached out and ruffled her hair.
Another woman then approached Julia, seemingly to try to lead her away from the crowd. However, when another man reached out to touch her, Julia tried to run through the crowd.
She can then be seen being grabbed by another man who repeatedly punched her while other men gathered around.
Nearby metro guards intervened and pulled Julia away from the men and brought her to safety.
“I’m not necessarily expecting these people to be punished but I want things to move forward and for the way people think to evolve.”
– Julia speaking to BFMTV
Speaking to French TV and radio, Julia said that the transgender community experiences violence “every day”—but said: “Some people won’t have the strength that I have and they’ll be destroyed by these attacks.”
She said one of the men told her during the attack: “You’re a man, you’re not going anywhere, you’re not coming past.”
Nous sommes bien en plein @Paris, à République. 🌈
Une honte pour notre pays. 🇫🇷
Une honte pour le drapeau auquel vous pensiez faire honneur. 🇩🇿
— Lyes Alouane🇫🇷🇪🇺 (@Lyes_Alouane) April 2, 2019
Julia also said that one of the men exposed himself to her while others poured beer on her.
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Speaking to BFMTV, Julia said: “I’m not necessarily expecting these people to be punished but I want things to move forward and for the way people think to evolve.”
Prosecutors in Paris have said they are investigating the incident.
The anti-transgender attack ‘should not go unpunished’
Speaking to Franceinfo, Lyes Aloune said he made the video public so that people are aware of the aggression and violence transgender people can face.
He also said that transgender people often don’t file complaints when they are attacked, and that when they do, they rarely see any action being taken.
Joël Deumier, president of SOS Homophobie, said the attack “should not go unpunished,” according to France Inter.
“Everyone should be able to move freely in the public space regardless of gender or [sexuality],” he said. “This video shows that this is not the case and that there is still a lot of progress to be made.”
There have been a number of high profile hate crimes in France in recent months. Last October, Guillaume Melanie, president of Urgence Homophobie, was attacked in a horrifying hate crime.
Melanie said that he was attacked as he was leaving a restaurant with a group of other activists.
Tweeting a photo of the injuries he sustained, Melanie said: “Homophobic attack outside a restaurant. Nose broken. Shocked. Blood everywhere. I’m homosexual and this is 2018.”