The latest victim of a transphobic attack gives Out News Global’s Andy West his harrowing account of the beating that left him in pain and shock.
It happened on Saturday 4 November at just gone 1 in the morning. I’d been at a party and was wandering home towards Deptford High Street in South London when I saw a group of young people in their late teens or early 20s. I guess there were 6 or 7 of them.
I saw them approaching me but didn’t think much of it really but as they passed, one of the ‘boys’ asked me: “Are you a man or a woman?” He was black and slim with a short, shaved haircut like Will Smith in the Fresh Prince.
I said: “I’m a man” and he replied: “well you’re fucking ugly”.
I asked him to leave me alone but he shoved me while another member of the group – a slightly overweight black girl with a ponytail and a furry hood on her jacket – snatched my hat.
I did try to escape but the guy punched me in the left side of my head and I stumbled then other members of the group joined in punching and pushing me. They were laughing.
At some point, I lost my glasses and the girl with a ponytail made me fall over on to my right side, where I rolled myself into a ball, covering my head with my arm.
Thank goodness I’d been to self-defence classes in case something like this happened.
The girl kicked me, stamped on me and punched me all over my body on my legs, chest, stomach and head. The beating continued and by this point I was in the middle of the road.
I thought I was going to die so finally I decided the only way t make it stop was to scream so I did as loud as I could and lay still pretending to be dead.
My attackers ran off in the direction of Evelyn St, towards the White Swan pub.
Afterwards, I was taken to hospital, where it was confirmed that my wrist was broken. A follow-up examination revealed that the break was worse than first thought and I’ve since had surgery to have a metal plate inserted.
Hopsital itself was difficult enough with some of the nurses mis-gendering me and feeling exposed in my nightgown which wasn’t done up properly.
Now, 3 weeks later, I’m extremely angry but also shocked. Deptford is normally a very welcoming area with a huge amount of diversity. I am horrified that these people thought violence was acceptable. It’s just not what people are about around here.
I am in a lot of pain. My main concern, though, is that the group understand what they did was wrong and learn to treat people with respect regardless of their background. Deptford is about community not violence. I don’t know if I’d recognise them if I saw them again. I probably would.
I’ve since been back to the scene because I didn’t want it to become a no-go zone for me and I knew there was a risk I would come to suffer post-traumatic stress syndrome.
I found my glasses not far from where the attack happened but I’ve never found my hat which is a shame because it meant a lot to me, as something I bought after I came out as trans at work.
I have cried and it’s scary. The thing is trans guys…well trans guys don’t cry. I had one moment of hysteria. I never knew what happened in witness statements. I just felt like I was going to vomit and I lost control. I’m dealing with it as best I can.
Police are appealing for witnesses. They’re asking anyone who was in the area at around 1 am on Saturday 4 November to come forward.