It's unclear as to why, exactly, this video of a trans woman being harassed and attacked on the subway is going viral. The truth of the matter is that for trans women this kind of violence is a daily occurrence.
Nonetheless, a woman by the name of Pearl Love managed to catch her attacker on cell phone video. The truly terrifying and degrading way Love is treated by her fellow commuters on the 4 train in New York City is disheartening and disgraceful. "Now you can understand what's happening in my everyday life," Love wrote on Facebook. "That happens all the time. But it's my first time recording it."
Love isn't exaggerating either. Violence against trans people is quite real and quite commonplace; statistics show that despite making up less than 1% of the world's population, a transgender person is murdered every 29 hours.
Perhaps the most shocking thing about the video is the way that no one intervenes, even as the altercation takes a violent turn.
Love may or may not have gone to the police with the footage, although if she did, she wouldn't have a hard time proving this was a hate crime. Then again, LGBT victims of violence don't exactly have the best relations with law enforcement, with many themselves becoming targets of investigation and police brutality. Studies from the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs show that transgender people are 3.32 times more likely to face violence from law enforcement than non-transgender people. Transgender people of color are nearly 2.5 times more likely to face attacks by police than white members of the transgender community.
If there's anything to be learned from the video it's this: despite the progress made by the LGBT community, we still have a long way to go before queers—and most specifically trans people—are fully accepted and can exist without incurring the daily wrath of bigots.