A transgender man in Cleveland was beaten with a chain in what he says was a transphobic hate crime.
28-year-old Myles Utz was getting off of a bus when he mentioned to the driver that he was trans as they chatted.
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According to Utz, another passenger overheard the exchange and began to follow him.
“He’s like, ‘I don’t care what you say it’s how you act. You say those kind of words it’ll get you killed out here!’ I’m like, ‘What are you talking about?’” Utz told Cleveland’s 19 news.
The man then pulled out a chain and began hitting Utz in the leg with it before hopping on a bike and fleeing the scene.
“He just pulled the chain out and got me right in the leg and whipped me right in front of those people,” Utz said. “There was three people at the bus stop.”
Utz’s ankle was swollen and he had to wear an air cast for several days.
“I’m still feeling traumatized,” said Utz. “I still have PTSD about it every day. I shake, I get scared.”
Utz also said he considered suicide from the trauma of the attack.
“I almost killed myself,” he said. “I almost killed myself because of this guy.”
Police are investigating the attack as a hate crime.
Anti-trans violence continues to be an epidemic across the country. 2021 recently became the deadliest year on record for the trans community, according to the Human Rights Campaign.
Eliana Turan of the LGBT Center of Cleveland, said the city is a “national epicenter” for anti-trans violence.
“I’ve known so many trans people who you know would walk in the center or you know approach me and they would share stories about getting beat up, getting robbed, getting jumped, being threatened, getting stalked,” Turan said. “That, unfortunately, is just part of daily life as a trans person in general and unfortunately especially here in Cleveland.”
Utz added that he often feels unsafe walking around the city, but that he is determined to stay strong.
“I could shed a tear, but you know what I’m a man, a trans man,” Utz said, “and I’m gonna be strong for people and be strong for those who don’t have a voice who can’t speak who won’t speak up because they’ve been assaulted and been beaten.”