A transgender man in Denver was subjected to a night of abuse and humiliation after he was attacked at a light rail station by a seemingly random assailant, and subsequently kicked out of an Uber by the driver when he tried to get passage home.
Syre Klenke, a 30-year old trans man, was heading home last Friday around 10:30 p.m. after spending time at a gay bar with friends.
While waiting at the train station near the 16th Street Mall area, Klenke said a male-presenting person, around 5’8″ with a “heavy” and “athletic” build, approached him, and, without warning, began punching him in the head repeatedly while yelling anti-gay slurs, according to LGBTQ Nation.
Klenke, who is only 5’2″ and 125 pounds, was able to escape by rolling onto his back and pushing away from the attacker with his feet. Klenke suffered a black eye, bruises and scratches to his face during the attack.
After escaping, Klenke called an Uber. But after informing the driver that he had just been attacked and that he was transgender, the driver got out of the car and demanded Klenke exit, telling him to leave or be forcibly removed from the car.
Klenke reported the incident to Uber, which refunded his cancellation fee and is investigating the incident.
“What Syre reported is heartbreaking and something nobody should ever have to experience,” an Uber spokesperson told a Los Angeles-based newspaper in an email. “Uber does not tolerate discrimination of any kind and we will take the appropriate action.”
Klenke said he has been in contact with Denver Police, who are investigating the incident.
He expressed shock that anti-LGBTQ incidents occurred in a city like Denver, which has laws prohibiting — at least in theory — discrimination against people based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Colorado has similar laws in place at the state level.
“I never would have expected, of all places, for this to happen here,” Klenke said.
He noted that his experience shows that anti-LGBTQ incidents can happen anywhere, and not just in conservative areas of the country.
“I think it definitely highlights, you know, that this isn’t a problem that’s only happening in the South; this isn’t a problem that’s only happening in a specific area; it’s not even a problem that’s only happening in the United States,” he said.
These are challenging times for news organizations. And yet it’s crucial we stay active and provide vital resources and information to both our local readers and the world. So won’t you please take a moment and consider supporting Metro Weekly with a membership? For as little as $5 a month, you can help ensure Metro Weekly magazine and MetroWeekly.com remain free, viable resources as we provide the best, most diverse, culturally-resonant LGBTQ coverage in both the D.C. region and around the world. Memberships come with exclusive perks and discounts, your own personal digital delivery of each week’s magazine (and an archive), access to our Member's Lounge when it launches this fall, and exclusive members-only items like Metro Weekly Membership Mugs and Tote Bags! Check out all our membership levels here and please join us today!