Two men face up to 15 years behind bars
for assaulting a transgender woman in Queens, New York on Wednesday,
Carmella Etienne says she was pelted
with rocks and beer bottles by Nathaniel Mims, 25, of the Bronx, and
Rosheed Thomas, 22, of Queens.
The 22-year-old aspiring fashion
designer says the men called out homophobic slurs at her – and
threatened to kill her – as they attacked her.
“I was being attacked because of who
I am,” Etienne, who was treated for a large cut to her leg, told
the New York Daily News.
“I'm pretty traumatized,” she
Thomas admits to the name calling but
says the victim did not see him throw anything, according to
prosecutors. The two men were arraigned on Friday.
The incident comes on the heels of a
nearby Jackson Heights assault where a transgender woman was beaten by
two men with a belt buckle. Thirty-year-old Leslie Moran says her
attackers repeatedly called her “faggot” in Spanish as they beat
her. Two men, Trinidad Tapia, 19, and Gilberto Ortiz, 32, have been
charged with assault in the second degree. The transgender rights
group Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund (TLDEF) and
other advocates have urged authorities to charge the men with hate
“There's mounting concern in the
community and anger at the violence and prejudice,” Brendan Fay, a
leader in the LGBT community in Queens, told the paper. “Clearly
these aren't isolated incidents.”