A transgender woman in Casper, Wyoming is recovering following a violent attack in a dog park. She also says hate motivated the attack.
Oil City News reports that Rilee Shipley had taken her dog out for a walk in her apartment complex’s dog park early on the morning of July 15. As she did, another resident entered the area with his dogs unleashed. Shipley asked the man to control his dogs, at which point, he became enraged.
“He called me the N-slur several times and if I had a problem I needed to come back and we could handle it,” she recalled.
Shipley–who, incidentally, is caucasian–reported the incident to the apartment complex management. That evening she returned to the dog park to walk her dog, at which point, the same neighbor, along with another man, happened on the scene. He began yelling obscenities, then entered the park and charged her.
“As I was knocked down and putting the leash on my dog, he told me that me and my piece of sh*t dog deserve to die,” she said, “and he called me the N-slur again and the word ‘b*tch‘ and stomped me on the side of the head, and kicked my face into the fencepost.”
Following the attack, Shipley visited the Wyoming Medical Center’s E.R. where she received treatment for fractures to her face and skull. She will require corrective surgery for a fracture to her eye socket.
For Shipley, one thing is clear: she was the victim of a hate crime.
“To me in my mind, there’s no question about whether or not it was geared towards homophobia or transphobia,” she said, “especially with the ease with which he threw around the N-word at me.”
Shipley also claims homophobia and transphobia run rampant in Wyoming.
“Someone told me once, ‘this is Wyoming: we don’t take offense to gays, we take them to the fences,’” she told reporters, a reference to the murder of gay college student Matthew Shepard, who was beaten, tied to a fence and left for dead in a 1998 attack. He died of his injuries shortly thereafter, sparking national outcry.
“That’s been a fear of mine since I first came out and started transitioning, and to have lived through that is terrifying,” Shipley said.
Shipley has also launched a GoFundMe campaign to offset the cost of her medical bills.
Elsewhere in Wyoming recently, a bar in Cheyenne was caught selling t-shirts that promoted the murder of queer people as a cure for AIDS.