Cowardly attacks

Recent queer bashings in Dallas and Denver leave gay man and trans woman partially paralyzed

Oscar Rodriguez, Dallas, gaybashing
Oscar Rodriguez

Two recent anti-LGBTQ attacks on Latinx queer people in Dallas, Texas and Denver, Colorado have horrified their respective communities. Here’s what happened in each incident:

Oscar Rodriguez, the karaoke host in the front bar of Dallas’ Round-Up Saloon, left work around 2:30 a.m. on Sunday, April 14. By the time he got home at 6 a.m., he stumbled in the door complaining of a headache.

When his roommate took a closer look, he realized that Rodriguez had been injured and took him to the local emergency room. There, doctors determined that he’d suffered a jaw broken in two places and a skull fracture at the back of the head. He had a cranial hemorrhage, is now unable to move part of his face and has undergone surgery to repair his jaw and install metal plates in his skull.

Rodriguez couldn’t remember anything about what happened, only that he had been at an apartment complex near a local highway. Though police are still investigating, a GoFundMe page has raised $6,720 of $50,000 to help cover his medical expenses.

Amber Nicole, transgender, Denver, Colorado
Amber Nicole

Meanwhile in Denver, around 1:20 a.m. on Sunday, April 28, trans woman Amber Nicole had her face and jaw broken in several places after leaving a lower downtown bar with her friends.

Video footage taken that night show Nicole trying to get a ride home, returning to the bar and then later crawling into a car covered in blood. Upon seeing Nicole’s distressed state, Nicole’s friend drove her to the hospital. Nicole suffered nerve damage on the right side of her face, leaving it partially paralyzed — doctors don’t know if it’s permanent.

Related: Man caught on tape shouting antigay slurs, punching gay couple won’t be charged with hate crime

With tears in her eyes, Nicole recently told the local CBS affiliate, “There’s so many people who can see an incident and stop it or do something about, or make a report about it, but nobody does and I don’t understand why. It feels like it’s because I’m different.” It’s unclear how much Nicole remembers about her attackers.

A GoFundMe page for Nicole has so far raised $4,040 of  its $13,000 goal.

In both cases, police are still searching for clues and suspects.

National statistics suggest that hate crimes against LGBTQ people have been increasing since 2016. Vanessa Panfil, a professor of criminal justice, told BuzzFeed News that violence against LGBTQ people might be connected to the Trump administration’s anti-LGBTQ policies and rhetoric.