|It is Not Enough!|
posted by Nicholas Deroose on Sep 20, 2010 00:00am | comments
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Born and raised in the sunny island of Singapore, Nicholas Deroose is currently pursing a Degree in Journalism at Temple University. Deathly passionate about anything gay, Nicholas has written for websites such as Trevvy.com and Fridae.com. He is also featured in the upcoming publication of GASPP: a Gay Anthology of Singapore Poetry and Prose. As a gay Asian man, he is also currently working with Queer Philadelphia Asian, an LGBT grassroots organization to raise the profile of the gay Asian community here in Philadelphia. Nicholas is fabulously gay and hopes to stay that way for a long long time.
Last Saturday night I witnessed an act of violence that shook me to the core. I was interviewing Tommy Atz from Safeguards about his outreach work; it was about 1:15am when we noticed a figure stumbling towards us from 13th street toward 12th on Locust. At first, we didn't pay much attention, but as the figure got closer we noticed something dreadfully suspicious.
She was wearing a black and white dress and heels and as she slowly approached us, we began to notice trails of red dripping down her ear to her neck and to be honest, at first I thought it might be a Lady Gaga outfit. As she past us we realized that she was actually bleeding profusely in thick streams of blood.
I stood frozen, caught between a trance-like state of shock and wanting to go and help her. Thankfully, Tommy snapped out of it quicker than I and raced to her side. I soon followed suit.
When we approached, we asked what had happened and how we could help. She explained that, while on her way home, she encountered a group of black kids and one of them threw a beer bottle at her. Her narration was calm and composed even though her story was disturbingly violent. It was clear that this was not the first time she had encountered such a reaction.
As we accompanied her, trying to find ways to help, I noticed that she was clearly a transperson and wondered if that could have been the motivation behind the attack.
She was trying to make her way to Jefferson hospital on 11th and Locust but, by the time she got to the corner of 12th street, she was too weak to walk and slowly knelt down by the traffic light, leaning against the pole for support. She needed help urgently and thankfully a passerby immediately called for an ambulance.
As I watch the pool of blood collect beneath her, I stood in awe of the calm and determined look on her face - a testament to her will.
Almost ten minutes had past and I could not stand idly by anymore. Running back down Locust, I tried to find a police car. Aren't they always crawling around the neighborhood anyways? Luckily, I managed to spot one the corner of 13th street and as I tried to explain the situation in hurried detail to the officer, I was stopped mid-way and told nonchalantly: "I am on my way there sir."
The officer in the car could not look less enthusiastic.
When I returned to the scene the ambulance had already arrived and thankfully she was receiving medical treatment.
Where is the safety in our neighborhood? Where are the police? Are we being protected? It is evident that not enough is being done to protect the trans people in the gaybourhood and there needs to be more of a grassroots effort to continue dialogue with the police and our community to ensure the safety of our members. I don't have all the answers but I know something must be done.
If we don't have the law sticking up for us, I think that it is high time that we stood up for ourselves and our community once more. Let this be a rallying cry.
Photo by: Walbert Young