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Taxi driver quits after being attacked by drunk passenger for being transgender

Emma Powys Maurice September 13, 2019

Marla Standing-Owl had been driving for Lyft for a year when she was attacked in her car (Screenshot/KGW/NBC)

A transgender Lyft driver is quitting after being attacked by a drunk passenger who told her she was “nothing but a man”.

The alleged assault occurred in Portland, Oregon, and is being investigated as a possible hate crime under the state’s new ‘bias crime’ law, which was introduced in July.

Marla Standing-Owl, who has been a Lyft driver for a year, picked up the “intoxicated” man at the Duniway Hotel on September 6.

“His speech was highly slurred,” she told KPTV. “He could barely get in the car. He didn’t know where he was going.”

She had driven the passenger less than a mile when he began to get aggressive.

“I told him, ‘I don’t need bigotry in my car,’ and that’s when he snapped,” she said.

Standing-Owl in a TV interview for KGW 8, NBC’s Portland, Oregon, affiliate (Screenshot/NBC)

Standing-Owl told police she feared for her life as the man “punch[ed] me in the head and the neck, and when I reached behind the seat to stop him from attacking me further, he twisted my arm back which popped.

“As he was beating me, he was calling me an f***ing tranny… He gets out, he comes around the back, and starts coming toward me so I pepper-sprayed him.”

Lyft responded immediately after the incident and remained in close contact with Standing-Owl to offer support. But she decided to quit as she no longer feels safe in the role.

We’re not taken seriously, because we don’t count as people. In most people’s eyes, we’re trash.

“I’m done. I can’t do it,” she told KGW 8. “I just can’t get in a car with other men.”

While she is hopeful that police will capture the suspect, she is not confident that he will be held accountable.

“We’re not taken seriously, because we don’t count as people. In most people’s eyes, we’re trash,” she said.

Police are asking anyone with information about the assault to contact bias crimes detective Jeff Sharp at 503-823-9773 or at [email protected]

More: anti-LGBT hate crimes, bias crime, Lyft, Oregon, portland, transgender violence

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