A man was being questioned on Friday in connection to an attack on a transgender woman at a West Village subway stop, the NYPD said.
Police said the man was in the 30s, but no other information is known at this time. Detectives from the special victims unit are questioning him, and the NYPD’s Hate Crimes Task Force is also investigating.
The Monday morning attack was being investigated by the NYPD’s Hate Crimes Task Force, police said. The 28-year-old woman was on the platform of the No. 6 train at the Bleecker Street station at about 9 a.m. when the brute walked up to her, acting erratically.
“What are you looking at?” he said before running over to a garbage can.
The suspect was caught on surveillance video reaching into the garbage and grabbing a plastic bottle. He then threw the bottle at the woman, ran at her, and pushed her into the tracks below.
He allegedly fled toward the B, F, D and M lines.
The woman was taken to Bellevue Hospital Center where she was treated and released.
The attack came just two hours before Caitlyn Jenner made her debut on Twitter, quickly amassing more than 1 million followers and generating praise for her bravery.
“I think you’re always going to have ignorant, close-minded people who are not going to understand something that they can’t identify with, but who really cares about them?” said Stacie Stephen, 29, from Staten Island. “Just go on about your business, live your life — you don’t have to agree with everyone’s lifestyle. It doesn’t give you the right to attack anybody, certainly not push anyone onto the tracks.”
But this isn’t the first attack of its kind. In October, a Brooklyn man was indicted for allegedly shooting at a group of three transgender women in Bushwick, marking the first time Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson indicted someone for attempted murder as a hate crime since he set up his Hate Crimes Unit last year.
Another transgender woman was also attacked that same month by a group of four men who threw Plexiglas at her head, causing a traumatic brain injury.
Elisa Ramos, 26, said she hopes those who identify as transgender aren’t going to be more at risk for attacks as a spotlight is shone on the community.
“They’re some people that don’t understand the struggle that those people have in their lives by not being themselves and they make it even worse,” said Ramos, who works in the area. “It’s sad because in New York people are supposed to be living with an open mind and this happened.”
Ramos said she hopes celebrities will inspire people to accept others who are different.
“But there are still close-minded people,” she added.
Having conversations about celebrities transitioning is a good thing, said Johnny Guaylupo, the Housing Works program coordinator for youth programs in East New York. But Guaylupo, who said he works with the LGBT community, said hate crimes are more common than people think.
“Having celebrities come out is fine, and people having conversations about celebrities coming out and transitioning to a female is good. But they should also have conversations about their own families,” said Guaylupo, 33, giving the example: “If your nephew now wants to become your niece, is that something that you can accept instead of kicking them out? Which is something that we consistently see a lot and I’m working at on a daily basis.”