African-American Trans Woman Iyanna Dior Beaten by Crowd in Minneapolis

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Thursday June 4, 2020

Iyanna Dior, an African-American transwoman, was attacked and beaten by a mob of more than thirty people after a minor traffic accident in Minneapolis on June 1, news sources reported.

The assault appeared to take place in a convenience store and was captured on cell phone video and circulated widely on social media, reports said.

The video prompted an outpouring of support for Dior, who was left with bruises but said in subsequent Facebook posts that she was okay.

Many on social media condemned the June 1 attack, which occurred even as protests were taking place in the city that decried police violence against George Floyd, an African American man who died after a white police officer pressed a knee into his neck for almost nine minutes, ignoring both Floyd's pleas and the concerns of bystanders.

One Twitter user responded to the video with the comment, "that video of iyanna dior getting assaulted by that group of men really just made me cry."

The tweet continued: "black trans women's lives really aren't valued and it's fucking sad. PROTECT BLACK TRANS WOMEN."

Tweeted another: "Stand up for Breonna Taylor. Speak up for Iyanna Dior. March for Aiyana Jones. Make your activism intersectional. Have our backs."

"Protect Black women like we protect you all," the tweet added. "You all wouldn't be yelling 'Black Lives Matter' if it weren't for TWO queer Black women."

A third tweet read: "I just watched the Iyanna Dior altercation. To all my black men and women now isn't the time to be transphobic, homophobic, or any of the phobia."

"We as a community have to be together no matter what sexuality a person is. We are in a fight right now and we have to fight as one."

Anti-LGBTQ assaults have skyrocketed in the wake of the 2016 elections. Hardest hit have been transwomen of color. the , which tracks lethal assaults against trans and gender-nonconforming people, reports that at least 26 trans victims died in 2019, and possibly many more; the HRC notes that "too often these stories go unreported -- or misreported."

"These victims were killed by acquaintances, partners or strangers, some of whom have been arrested and charged, while others have yet to be identified. Some of these cases involve clear anti-transgender bias. In others, the victim's transgender status may have put them at risk in other ways," the HRC notes.

According to the HRC, at least 12 trans people have been murdered so far this year. Many of the victims in 2020, as in earlier years, have been transgender women of color.

Many on Twitter deliberately chose not to share the video of the assault, which appeared to be mostly perpetrated by cisgender men.

Instead, photos of Dior appeared, along with appeals for donations to support her.

Dior herself clapped back, posting a sexy photo of herself wearing tight-fitting jeans. Dior declared, "This Why Y'all Really Was Mad"

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.

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