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Trans woman ‘karate-chopped’ by abusive drunk cis women in horrific transphobic attack in public bathroom

Emma Powys Maurice June 23, 2020
Trans woman Lara Rae

Canadian trans woman Lara Rae was attacked by two cis women in a ladies' bathroom (Screenshot: CBC)

A Canadian trans woman was injured in the public bathroom of a shopping centre by two cis women who accosted and “karate-chopped” her.

Lara Rae, 56, is a comedian and writer who co-founded the Winnipeg Comedy Festival. She was at the city’s Portage Place Shopping Centre on June 15 to pick up some medication, when she went inside the ladies’ bathroom to wash her hands and put on lipstick.

When she tried to leave, two women blocked the entrance and began screaming at her.

“They were both highly intoxicated, and one of them started screaming and abusing and misgendering me,” she told CBC News.

Rae attempted to show one of the women her ID, but, she said, she ignored it and “karate chopped” her wrist.

“I wasn’t sure [the ID] was going to work in this case, but when I tried to give the woman my licence, she basically karate chopped my hand and caused this injury,” she said.

As a result of the attack, Rae’s wrist is now sprained and in a supportive sleeve while she takes time off work to heal.

Transphobic attacker gets cis man to ‘intimidate’ trans woman in women’s bathroom.

One of the women then called to a male friend who was coming out of the men’s bathroom and threatened to have Rae “beat up”.

“He gets in my face, and you know, tries to intimidate me and stare me down. For whatever reason, I kind of see a change in his eyes and he cuts his losses and he just turns and leaves,” Rae said.

Unfortunately this didn’t diffuse the situation, and the women continued to scream at Rae even after security arrived.

Winnipeg’s Portage Place Shopping Centre confirmed they are aware of the incident (Screenshot: CBC)

“Nobody had the training to suggest that this may be a continuation of the abuse and violence against me,” she said.

“So I just had to stand there and listen to her continue to scream and not one of them thought, ‘Maybe you should shut up and stop misgendering this woman and further traumatising her,’ because it doesn’t even enter their heads. We are just treated like garbage, my community. I’m sick of it.”

Winnipeg police officers were called to the shopping centre. A spokesperson confirmed the investigation is ongoing, and no arrests have been made yet.

The shopping centre’s management said that, in accordance with their policy, the security officers opted not to physically detain the women because they didn’t witness the incident.

Although there is no CCTV footage of the incident occurring in the ladies bathroom, police have been sent video footage of the suspects in the shopping centre to police to try to help identify them.

Lara Rae has called for more education on trans issues to prevent situations like this in future (Screenshot: CBC)

The general manager, Dave Stone, met with Rae to speak about the incident and “extend our apologies for Monday evening’s attack”, a statement says.

“Based on this conversation and subsequent feedback from the LGBTQ community, we are taking recommended and immediate steps to better protect and enhance LGBTQ safety while at the mall. This includes signage, washroom signage and sensitivity training.”

Rae said that it’s a positive start, but more needs to be done. “If that is followed up by meaningful action, then you know that part of it is a solution.”

 

More: Canada, trans bathroom policy, Winnipeg

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