A Black transgender man is dealing with a broken eye socket, partial vision loss, and other injuries after a suspected hate crime attack in Rochester, New York.

Samson Tequir, a 30-year-old Black Lives Matter organizer, required surgery to repair damage to his eye socket and a shattered cheekbone after he was attacked while walking home on July 31.

Police are investigating the attack — which took place after Tequir and his partner left a grocery store in the east side of the city — as a potential hate crime.

Tequir said his assailants first approached him while he waited outside Big Town Grocery in Rochester, after his partner had entered the store.

He said they started “yelling at me, and said I couldn’t stand on the corner like that…said I had to get off his corner with that gay (expletive),” Tequir told the Democrat & Chronicle.

Surveillance footage from across the street captured the men approaching and accosting Tequir, who said the men told him he “shouldn’t be dressed like that, I had to get out of here with these gay clothes and all that.”

The men allegedly attacked Tequir and his partner after they left the store, following the couple as they walked home before striking Tequir on the side of the head.

He told the Democrat & Chronicle that he lost consciousness for a few seconds after he was struck, with doctors later telling him that he was hit at least one more time.

Police were called after the attack, but didn’t arrive on scene until more than 40 minutes after the call was placed. A police spokeswoman said it was because “cars were tied up on other jobs at the time.”

Tequir said the officers were “no help,” claiming that the suspects stayed in the area after he was attacked and that police were provided with descriptions of his alleged attackers, but did not investigate the scene.

In addition, he claims that the men reportedly livestreamed the aftermath of the attack, in a video that Tequir said had since been removed from Facebook — although police couldn’t confirm whether such a video had existed.

“The preliminary investigation revealed that the victims were approached by two suspects who engaged in a verbal altercation with the victims regarding one of the victim’s sexual orientation,” Rochester Police Department said in a statement.

“The Rochester Police Department is investigating this incident as a potential hate crime and is consulting with the Monroe County District Attorney’s Office.”

The investigation remains ongoing, with no arrests yet made. Rochester police have released additional surveillance footage showing the two suspects, and are urging anyone with information to call CrimeStoppers on 585-423-9300.

Tequir said that he had been left with partial vision loss in his right eye, a bruised cornea and retina, and a broken tooth after the attack.

In a Facebook post on August 4, Tequir thanked his supporters and said he was having surgery and would be “out of commission for a while after this.”

With regards the attack, he told the Democrat & Chronicle that his story was “not new” and “not the last one.”

“I can look around the room I am in right now and find more of those stories just the same,” he said. “The only reason you are hearing about it is because people happened to know my name.”

He added that people think attacks based on gender identity “only happens in big cities,” or to trans youth or trans women.

“It is still happening right here, in 2020, in the city of Rochester,” he said

When we hear stories of high-profile mothers and fathers of LGBTQIA+ people, too often the response — from both the parents and the public — is negative, hurtful and misinformed.

That’s why Dwyane Wade discussing how he supports his transgender daughter with Ellen DeGeneres on her celebrity talk show was so powerful, and so necessary.

While loving your child unconditionally, despite their sexual or gender orientation, shouldn’t warrant a news article or any particular fanfare, when it comes to children who go through uncertain experiences with their identity, the confusion and discomfort that stems from these conversations often means they suffer in silence, denying themselves, their bodies and their ability to express themselves.

“Me and my wife — my wife Gabrielle Union — we are proud parents of a child in the LGBTQ+ community and we’re proud allies as well,” Dwyane told Ellen about his daughter Zaya.

“We take our roles and responsibility as parents very seriously.”

The retired NBA star explained that his daughter Zaya, who he shares with his ex-wife Siohvaughn Funches, was born with the name Zion, and was assigned a male at birth. Now, she has come out to her parents and the world in order to “live her truth”.

“Zion, born as a boy, came home and said, ‘Hey, so I want to talk to you guys. I think going forward I am ready to live my truth. I want to be referenced as ‘she’ and ‘her.’ I would love for you guys to call me Zaya,'” he recalled.

“When our child comes home with a question, when our child comes home with an issue, when our child comes home with anything, it’s our job as parents to listen to that, to give them the best information that we can, the best feedback that we can. And that doesn’t change because sexuality is now involved in it.”

Dwyane said that in order to best educate himself about raising a transgender girl in a safe and supportive environment, he and current wife Gabrielle reached out to the cast of Pose — a show starring a host of queer and transgender actors who situate themselves firmly and proudly in the LGBTQIA+ community — to learn from them and their experiences.

“Now it’s our job to go out and get information, to reach out to every relationship that we have,” Dwyane told Ellen, who has also dealt with coming out as a lesbian in the public eye.

“We’re just trying to figure out as much information as we can to make sure that we give our child the best opportunity to be her best self.”

Gabrielle also took to Twitter this week with a video and warm message to introduce Zaya to the public.

“Meet Zaya. She’s compassionate, loving, whip smart and we are so proud of her. It’s Ok to listen to, love & respect your children exactly as they are. Love and light good people,” she wrote in the tweet.

We can only hope that Dwyane, Siohvaughn and Gabrielle can act as role models for other parents who may find their children’s transitions to be more painful and confusing than is necessary.

Neil Virtue is proud of the work OneTeam has done in the last year, and he’s hoping for more in the near future.

When Neil Virtue stood in front of the crowd at the 2018 NCAA convention, he had already been out in his role of swim coach at Mills College for over a decade.

Still, sharing his identity as an LGBTQ person in front of hundreds was a daunting proposition.

“I had some anxiety about it,” Virtue told Outsports. “Framing it in a personal light, saying I’m a coach, I’m a brother, I’m gay, I’m a drummer, I’m a swimmer, sort of throwing it out there as one part of who I am. I’d never done it in that type of public way. It was a big deal for me, and it was really powerful and empowering to be able to stand up there and represent my truth.”

That’s how Virtue prefers to share his identity as a gay man: casually, conversationally.

“My whole M.O. is to make it a non-issue,” he said. So making a big speech about it was out of his comfort zone. Yet as the working-group chair of the NCAA’s OneTeam program — designed to educate and inform people in Division III athletic departments about LGBTQ inclusion — sharing his personal story was part of the journey.

In the first year of the initiative about 1,800 people have experienced the OneTeam program in several dozen athletic departments, spanning just six months (thanks in part to the COVID-19 pandemic). Virtue acknowledges that every step is progress, but still he’d like to see that number go up a lot faster. There are currently 442 schools with NCAA Division III athletic programs.

“It’s got to be continually advocated or pushed for all the time. It’s been good work, but it would be great if it could be done a lot more.”

There is no charge to the school for the program, other than the travel costs of the facilitator. With over 50 facilitators across the country, most schools are within a drive of one of them. While there are no facilitators located in the Plain States, there are also very few Division III schools in that area of the country. Still, for a plane ticket, a Lyft and a hotel room they can host the program.

Plus, Virtue and the OneTeam team are exploring virtual trainings, which wouldn’t involve more travel than a stroll from the kitchen to the living room.

The facilitated in-person program lasts about two hours, and Virtue admits that’s only enough time to scratch the surface. Yet the conversations it generates are important first or next steps (depending on the school) for any athletic department. Key to those two hours are talking about intersectional identities, problematic and helpful language in and around athletics, and highlighting LGBTQ voices within that athletic department.

For a review of the OneTeam experience at one Division III school — Kenyon College in Ohio — check out this Outsports article by Ken Schultz from last autumn.

The people running the program are still figuring out what exactly the virtual program might look like headed into the 2020-21 school year.

Even if it has been interrupted by the pandemic, Virtue said he’s proud to be part of the trailblazing effort. Sports bring people together, and Virtue has found that people across NCAA Division III athletics to be ready, willing and able to have these conversations about LGBTQ inclusion.

“When the NCAA decides to do something like this, they can become a powerful machine.”

You can find out more about the OneTeam program here

The National Collegiate Athletic Association Board of Governors in its Tuesday meeting is poised to discuss whether the 2021 men's basketball tournament will come to Boise as scheduled.

After Idaho passed a law this year barring transgender girls and women from playing on female high school and college sports teams, more than 500 athletes and 60 advocacy groups wrote letters to the NCAA requesting that the organization not sponsor any events in Idaho while House Bill 500 was still on the books.

A ban would include first- and second-round games at the men's basketball tournament, which Boise State University is scheduled to host March 18-20 at ExtraMile Arena. 

The NCAA has stated opposition to this law, saying it is “harmful to transgender student-athletes and conflicts with the NCAA’s core values of inclusivity, respect and the equitable treatment of all individuals.”

Last month, the organization said the board would discuss Idaho's law at the August meetingThe board's agenda for Tuesday includes an "update on NCAA Transgender Student-Athlete Participation Policy review and federal state legislative activity."

State Rep. Barbara Ehardt, R-Idaho Falls, worked with the Alliance Defending Freedom, an Arizona-based socially conservative group, to craft the bill.

On Wednesday, the alliance issued a press release saying female Olympians, Title IX pioneers, and more than 300 collegiate and professional athletes had submitted a letter to the NCAA board, urging them to reject calls to remove the tournament from Boise.

"Fairness for female athletes should not be a political or partisan issue," the letter states. "…We strongly believe that everyone should have the opportunity to compete, but true athletic parity for women demands that women’s sports be protected for biological females."

Signers of the letter include cyclist Jennifer Wagner-Assali, world-champion track athlete Cynthia Monteleone, and Title IX pioneer and marathon swimmer Sandra Bucha-Kerscher, according to the press release. 

Boise State's ExtraMile Arena, formerly the Taco Bell Arena, has hosted the NCAA basketball tournament nine times, most recently in 2018.

The NCAA has previously moved tournaments from their original locations due to local laws, moving a first- and second-round site in 2017 from Greensboro, North Carolina, to Greenville, South Carolina, due to North Carolina's House Bill 2, which banned people from using public bathrooms that didn't correspond to their birth gender. A partial repeal of the law removed the bathroom regulations, and Charlotte was able to host 2018 first and second round games.

The board will meet over Zoom from 12:30 to 6 p.m. Tuesday.

Two more Black trans women have been murdered in the US this week, and reports have emerged that a Black trans man was killed in June.

Their deaths mean there have been at least 25 trans people murdered in the US in 2020, just over halfway into the year. The Human Rights Campaign tracked 27 violent fatalities throughout all of 2019.

According to local New York TV station WPIX, 32-year-old Tiffany Harris was stabbed to death in her Bronx apartment early Sunday morning (July 26).

She was initially deadnamed and misgendered by the police and the media, but was correctly identified by people in her community as well as a trans rights group.

NYPD officers responded to a 911 call just after 1.30am and discovered Harris with a stab wound to her chest in the hallway of her building. She was rushed to hospital but was pronounced dead at around 2.20am.

Her death is not being investigated as a hate crime. A man caught on CCTV is wanted for questioning, and is believed to have been in a relationship with Harris.

On Monday (July 27) afternoon, a second Black trans woman was found dead in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

According to local news outlet The Advocate, Queasha D Hardy was just 24 years old and had been shot in broad daylight. She was found just after 1pm lying in the street with multiple gunshot wounds and passed away at the scene.

Hardy was also misgendered and deadnamed by police and the media after her death, and her next of kin reportedly demanded that she be identified as male despite her living openly as a trans woman.

A Black trans man was murdered last month.

Reports have recently emerged that a Black trans man, Brian Powers, was murdered in Akron, Ohio, on June 13.

According to the Akron Beacon JournalPowers was killed by a single gunshot and was found on the street outside a church.

Police said they have no leads, but the man’s friends and family believe his death is not being treated seriously because he was Black and transgender.

Powers’s friend Steve Arrington, who works at the Akron AIDS Collaborative, said: “I’m kind of disturbed when they say ‘Black Lives Matter’.

“I say: ‘Whose lives, my life? Or just heterosexual Black people’s lives? What about my LGBTQ brothers and sisters? They’re Black. Do their lives matter?'”

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