Victim of hate crime against transgender people speaks out
A handful of Newberry residents protested the hate crime against transgender people which happened Friday morning.
Liz Abel is married to a person who identifies as transgender. They were woken up Friday morning by police informing them that hate speech was spray painted on their garage. Liz told us this was the second threat.
“Thursday morning we found a little post-it note that said move or die that's all it said. By 3 am the next morning they hadn’t even given us a chance to move, our garage door had been stay painted move or die…”
Liz says her wife hasn’t been out as a transgender very long and is a private person who doesn’t flaunt herself flamboyantly.
“She only recently came out as a trans woman a few months ago and this situation is very surprising considering we haven’t been out and about and we don’t really bother anybody it's very shocking.”
Liz says she’s had overwhelming support from people she never even met before, including another local trans woman who organized the protest against trans violence without Liz even knowing.
Melina Farley-Barrat is a transgender activist who explained why this small but powerful protest is important. It’s about changing the culture, people like us who have the ability to show up and be present and say I’m here and I count and I matter. That's important for those that just don’t understand to be able to learn from and if we don’t do that then the culture doesn’t change.”
Melina says the phrase "move or die” targeted towards another trans woman is aimed at the entire trans community including herself.
“It’s just really sad and frustrating it angers me, I mean the whole move or die. I was born at Shands I graduated from Newberry high where one of my kids goes today. This is as much my town as anyone else.”
As for Liz, she says they’ll be staying in their home, unwilling to move and with community help unafraid of the violent threat.
“I’m not going to move because of this if we move this is not why.”
A transgender support group called "tranquility" meets every fourth Monday at the Health Street Station in Newberry.