Metro Weekly

Minneapolis transgender woman was beaten in viral video following traffic accident

Iyanna Dior says she implored convenience store employees to call police, but they accused her of causing "too much drama"

Minneapolis, trans woman, assault, video, viral
Iyanna Dior – Photo: Facebook.

A transgender woman was assaulted by a group of 20 to 30 people in Minneapolis last Monday after a minor traffic accident, with the attack being caught in a viral video that was posted to Facebook.

Iyanna Dior, a black transgender woman, shared her story with transgender activist Dee Dee Watters as part of a Facebook Live video that was posted on Watters’ Facebook wall.

Dior, 20 claims that when she was moving a friend’s car at night, she hit three cars on the East Side of St. Paul, Minn. She said that the accident drew several people to the scene, who began yelling at her, making her feel unsafe, so she left the scene. She began trying to walk to a nearby convenience store, thinking she could find safety there.

“I wanted to get to the store because the only thing that’s really running through my mind is: ‘If I’m going to die, I’m going to die on camera,'” Dior told Watters. “I want people to know what actually happened.”

Dior says a number of people began yelling at her, and she even offered to pay the owner of the car $500, before walking to the store, with about 20 to 30 people trailing her, yelling homophobic comments and slurs at her.

When she reached her destination, she asked a store employee to call police as the crowd spilled into the convenience store. But the employee refused to help her, telling her she was causing “too much drama.”

Dior said there was one woman who tried to get the crowd to exit the store, but the employees kept wanting to push her out and into the crowd. The owner of the car then allegedly punched Dior, who ran behind the counter.

The crowd spilled into the store, and began attacking her. She spit on the woman who had attacked her, and managed to restrain her, but others in the mob jumped over the counter and began beating her, causing her to pass out.

See also: 100+ LGBTQ organizations condemn racism, racial violence, and police brutality

Dior said on Facebook that she is okay, but suffered injuries in the attack.

“The whole side of my face is swollen. It hurts so bad. On my forehead, if you run your hands across it, these are knots. That’s a whole patch of scratches,” she said in the video. “My fucking arm is just swollen, it hurts so bad. I need to go to the hospital. My lips are cut on the inside. A lot of shit happened.”

Watters later posted a link in the comments to a fundraising website to help Dior with housing, medical, and transportation expenses in the wake of the attack. That page has since raised almost $13,000.

“The thing is, we have to be mindful that anything that can happen to any one of us can happen to another,” Watters. said. “While we’re running around screaming about ‘Black Lives Matter,’ her black lives (sic) matter…. Just because someone is trans identified does not take away our black card. We are just as black as you are.”

Many protesters in various demonstrations calling for an end to racism and police brutality throughout the United States and across the globe have invoked Dior’s name over the course of the week, noting that people cannot be selective about whom they are fighting for rights.

Ashlee Marie Preston, a Los Angeles-based transgender activist, told NBC News that the video of the attack on Dior reminded her of the attack on Muhlaysia Booker, a transgender woman in Dallas who was beaten by a mob until she lost consciousness after getting into a minor car accident.

One of the men who attacked Booker, who was killed in an unrelated shooting a month after the incident, was later convicted of misdemeanor assault.

“I think it’s a difficult time to be a trans woman because we are trying to combat anti-blackness within the LGBTQ community and we are also trying to combat transphobia within the black community,” Preston said.

The National Center for Transgender Equality denounced the attack on Dior, saying the incident was “motivated by hate and bigotry.”

“The world needs to know Iyanna’s name and understand the violence that transgender people — and particularly Black transgender people — face every day,” Mara Keisling, the executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, said in a statement. “Transgender people are targeted by the police, who also too often fail to protect transgender lives or even thoroughly investigate crimes against transgender people. Black trans people are targeted for violence as they simply try to live their lives. We must come together to end the attacks on transgender people.”

Read more:

LGBTQ groups urge progressives to drop out of N.Y. congressional race and throw support behind NYC Councilman Ritchie Torres

Mayor Bowser paints “Black Lives Matter” on street in front of the White House

Lawyers for trans Naval officer granted waiver to serve drop lawsuit against Trump’s transgender military ban

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John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at jriley@metroweekly.com

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