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Following a recent string of violence against trans women of color in the D.C. area, a 15 year-old trans girl was stabbed in the back this Wednesday while she was riding a Metro train with some of her teenage friends.
One of her friends related the story that the man came up to her on the train and began making fun of her appearance and asking questions like, “Are you a man? Are you a man?” He then stabbed her in the back with a 3.5 inch folding knife.
The suspect, reported as a 24 year-old man named Reginald Anthony Klaiber, has been taken into custody and charged with assault with a deadly weapon, with the possibility of being additionally charged with a hate crime. Passengers aboard the Metro train who witnessed the incident identified the man to the police.
The attack on the 15 year-old girl in D.C. is reminiscent of another attack against two black trans women that occurred in May aboard an Atlanta MARTA train, in which one of the women was forcibly stripped naked during the encounter. The confrontation in Atlanta was again initiated when the men in question began asking inappropriate questions about the two women’s bodies and attempted to publicly shame them. However, in that case the witnesses aboard the train did nothing to interfere in the situation and did not report the incident. In fact, one passenger recorded the attack and then posted a video online in an attempt to further publicly humiliate the victims of the attack.
These incidents fit within a wider pattern of verbal and physical violence against trans women, in which the perpetrators of such aggression seem to believe that trans women’s bodies are public domain and that they should have no expectation of privacy.