Another life has been cut short — but was it taken out of hate?
21-year old Islan Nettles, a transgender woman, suffered a severe beating that left her brain-dead, DNAinfo New York reports. She was attacked last weekend while she was out with her friends and ran into a group of men in Harlem, New York. According to police reports, when the men realized that Nettles was transgender they began yelling out homophobic slurs and started punching her.
Nettles was beaten so badly that she could not be revived at a nearby hospital. She was later taken off of life support.
Police have arrested a 20-year-old man who they believe to be responsible for the attack. He initially received misdemeanor charges, however authorities say that he will be charged more harshly for the crime.
Nettles had aspired to become a fashion designer, according to her LinkedIn page. She had interned at a Harlem design house and said fashion had become her passion from an early age.
“Fashion became a definite decision for my life after my first show with my hand designed garments in high school at the 11th grade,” she wrote.
The news of Nettles’ death has sparked outrage in Harlem’s LGBT community. Carmen Neely, president of Harlem Pride, posted “THIS MUST STOP!!” on her group’s Facebook page and demanded that the assailants be prosecuted for a hate crime. She told DNAinfo New York that transphobia is what may have caused the incident.
“Transgender people have rights,” she said.”They should be able to walk the streets and have a conversation and not be beaten or lose their lives. Whatever the conversation was that night, it should not have resulted in her death.”