Kendall Stephens shares story of transphobic attack with Human Rights Campaign | #students | #parents

Kendall Stephens has spoken frequently about being the victim of a transphobic attack since the incident occurred inside her Point Breeze home in August. 

Stephens, 34, has expanded on the violent assault, which left her visibly injured, and her experience as a Black transgender woman in interviews with several media outlets. 

On Tuesday, the community advocate and Temple University student offered additional details about the attack in a community blog post published by the Human Rights Campaign, an equality-focused nonprofit. 

Stephens was beaten in front of her godchildren and called “tranny” and other derogatory names after she threatened to call the police on a group causing a disturbance outside her home. 

In the blog post, Stephens said the Philadelphia police were “belligerent and unsympathetic” during their response to the assault, saying they refused to arrest one of the people she identified as an attacker. She said they regarded the incident as a simple assault, telling her she would need to make a private criminal complaint. 

“When I came to the police district, I was met with the same hostile energy from the commanding sergeant, who harassed me, trivialized my injuries, and cracked jokes with his subordinates while I bled on the floor,” she said.  

Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner charged one of the alleged attackers, Tymesha Wearing, with aggravated assault, ethnic intimidation and related charges last month. Stephens suffered a broken nose, head contusion, facial swelling, a busted lip, bruised ribs and and other injuries. 

In announcing charges, Krasner pushed for stronger LGBTQ hate crimes protections in the Pennsylvania Criminal Code.

Stephens said her experience with police officers was typical for a transgender victim.

“No one should be in a position to have to advocate on their behalf so fervently when in a state of extreme duress, but this is par for the course when it comes to trans people in just about every interpersonal issue we have to endure,” Stephens told the Human Rights Campaign.

“In many instances like mine, the police harm the transgender community in irreparable ways, especially in terms of investigations into the times when we are attacked and murdered, as they often misgender us in the media and on police reports and fail to put forth the same energy and effort into our cases than that of the general public.”

Philadelphia police and the mayor’s office did not immediately respond to requests for comment. 

Several Black transgender women have been the victims of homicides in Philadelphia in recent years. Dominique Rem’mie Fells was found dead in the Schuylkill River in June. Michelle “Tamika” Washington was fatally shot in North Philly last year and Shantee Tucker was killed in Hunting Park in 2018. 

Stephens, a board member at the William Way LGBTQ Community Center and a trans support group facilitator, previously discussed the assault with Billy Penn, the Inquirer and 6ABC. 

Despite the unsatisfactory response from police, Stephens said she would use the experience as a lesson for her transgender advocacy work. 

“Living as a trans woman has its ups and downs, though what is troubling is that we have been disallowed to live an honest manifestation of our truth by intolerable transphobic individuals,” Stephens said. 

We need people to be our allies and speak on our behalf if we are to advance in health and prosperity in our community. People can help by being cognizant of what we, as trans women, go through on a daily basis, just so we can live in our authenticity.”

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