Photo: Facebook

Earlier today, we published video footage of a trans woman named Pearl Love being taunted last week on the subway with transphobic, homophobic, and racist slurs and then being assaulted by an as-yet-unidentified woman. After publishing that post, I talked to Love by phone, and she contextualized the incident within the broader bigotry and discrimination that she commonly experiences.

Love, an outreach social worker for Translatina Network, told me that as a trans woman living in New York, she’s harassed multiple times a week, although this particular incident was egregious.

“Usually people say two, three sentences that aren’t nice and you’re not looking,” said Love. “She kept going. People around me started looking at me to let me know what she said, but I already knew. I started recording and then she goes further.”

“All transgender people probably know that’s everyday life,” she explained. “People will tell you, ‘Don’t sit in front of me. I don’t want to see you in front of me. Fuck off.’”

“I didn’t know that much was wrong with it until people told me, because I get that all the time,” she elaborated. “I thought it was kind of normal—people are just not nice.”

Love, who immigrated from Taiwan to the U.S. in 1998, has no contact with her family on account of her gender identity. She says she faces further discrimination in job searches, and recently found herself “almost homeless.”
“It’s not even the worst thing in my life,” she said of the routine bigotry she faces, as depicted in this video.

Love told me that she did not contact the police—she didn’t sustain serious injury and she wasn’t even sure which precinct to report this incident to. She says she has a meeting set up with the Anti-Violence Project tomorrow after the group reached out offering its assistance. She’s waiting to talk to AVP before deciding what to do with the other footage she shot that afternoon—footage that she says shows her being chased and hit by the woman in the video in a subway station.

I asked if she thinks her attacker should go to jail, and Love said, “I don’t know.” Love said her goal of posting the video was merely to raise awareness of the transphobia that she regularly experiences.

“I posted it because I think people have to be educated,” she told me. “If I can show people that this is what I face everyday, that would be a good thing.”

And that goes for the woman featured in the video, as well.

“Maybe she’ll change if she sees how wrong she is,” she explained. “I don’t want to focus on negativity or hate.”