Man found guilty of hate crime after repeatedly punching trans woman in the face for using the bathroom
A man has been found guilty of a hate crime after repeatedly punching a trans woman in the face and breaking her jaw, just because she used the correct bathroom.
Fred Constanza, 37, from Blackfoot, Idaho, was convicted of a first-degree bias crime, second-degree assault and harassment.
Constanza attacked Lauren Jackson after she used a women’s bathroom at Agate Beach State Park in Oregon on August 24, 2019.
She told KATU shortly after the attack: “He just comes up and starts yelling something about me being a lady, thinking I’m a lady. I just stand there and I don’t say anything. I don’t raise my hands.
“And he just blindsides me from the beginning and the rest was him dragging me around and continuing to punch me, and I’m just screaming. Someone heard and ran across the park and tackled this guy off of me.”
Witnesses said he hit her “more than 10 times”, and she added that he held her by her hair to stop her getting away. Jackson suffered five fractures to her jaw, as well as a skull fracture, and required surgery.
Constanza fled the scene, but was arrested the same day.
Jackson said she came out as a trans woman and began to transition in 2018, and said that her injuries were especially hard to deal with at such an early stage.
She said shortly after her surgery: “How I appear to other people is really important right now, and this is an intense to thing to see on my face… All of a sudden being pretty is very important to me. I’m having a rough start.”
She said that she knows some people are uncomfortable with her using the correct bathroom, but that she also knows she didn’t do anything wrong.
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She said: “I don’t feel safe using the men’s restroom. And other people don’t feel safe having me in the women’s restroom.
“I believe that people are inherently good and that I live in a kind world.
“I don’t think I did anything wrong, and I don’t want to live in fear.”
Jackson added that she doesn’t feel any hate towards her attacker.
She continued: “This is his opportunity to use this situation and hopefully come out the other end better or happier.
“I understand what it feels like to have hate in your heart, and I’ve felt that in my life before, and I’m not going to pick that back up. It’s too heavy to hate someone for trying to find their own way, in their own way.”
Constanza will be sentenced February 7, 2020. According to The Bellingham Herald, the minimum sentence for his crimes is five years and 10 months.
Last year, at least 26 trans or gender non-conforming people were violently killed in the US.