ANDY HUMM | Gay City News | December 10
The brutal beating of a transgender Latina, Kathy Perez, 35, outside her Jackson Heights home in the early morning hours of November 29 sparked an impassioned rally by transgender women and their allies led by Make the Road, a social justice organization, on the evening of December 3. The crowd swelled to almost 100 as it wound its way for two hours through the diverse neighborhood — with its reputation as being LGBT-welcoming — that was shaken by the brutal attack.
Perez was left unconscious at the scene of her attack, and by the time activists gathered four days later, a report of a neighborhood sexual assault by multiple assailants on a 23-year-old gay man the day after the Perez attack was circulating, though details of that incident remain sketchy.
Outrage at the attack on Perez was heightened by reports of a statement from the NYPD’s chief of detectives, Robert K. Boyce, that based on witness accounts the assault was not a hate crime but rather “domestic violence.” Friends of Perez who spoke to her when she regained consciousness in Elmhurst Hospital said she told them she did not know her attacker — and obviously could not have told the police anything about her relationship with her attacker before the moment she spoke to the friends.