Stars Speak Up For Black LGBTQ Lives After Video Shows Attack On Transgender Woman

Billy Porter, Janet Mock and Megan Thee Stallion were among those to defend Iyanna Dior, who was allegedly beaten after a Minnesota protest.

Billy Porter has joined a chorus of celebrities and advocacy groups in speaking up for the Black LGBTQ community this week after troubling footage showing an alleged attack on a transgender woman went viral. 

In a strongly worded video posted to Instagram late Thursday, the “Pose” actor and singer addressed 21-year-old Iyanna Dior. A widely circulated video this week appears to show 20 to 30 men beating up Dior at a gas station in St. Paul, Minnesota. 

The incident took place following an otherwise peaceful protest against racial inequality and police brutality, he said, before noting that Dior’s attackers appeared to be Black men. 

“My basic human rights have been up for legislation every single day that I have had breath in my body from all sides,” said Porter, who is gay. “By that, I mean that the Black community’s relationship with the LGBTQ+ community is appalling at best and eerily similar to that of white supremacists versus Black folk.”

“The tragic reality here is that Black trans, as well as gender non-conforming, women and men are being killed in the United States by cis Black men to such a degree that it is nearly the worst emergency for trans women on the planet,” he added. “To all my homophobic and transphobic brothers and sisters, get your fucking houses in order.”

On Wednesday, rapper Megan Thee Stallion posted a photo of Dior to Instagram, saying the case “really broke my heart.” 

“The Good Place” star Jameela Jamil, “RuPaul’s Drag Race” veteran Pandora Boxx, and author and director Janet Mock also pledged their support for Dior on social media. 

As of Friday, there had been no reports of arrests associated with the alleged violence. The St. Paul Police Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

In a video posted to Facebook on Thursday, Dior said she wasn’t ready to answer questions from her supporters or the media. She said the altercation began after she accidentally struck other vehicles in a parking lot while attempting to move a friend’s car. 

“I feel disgusted, really. I feel attacked,” she said. “A lot of emotions are running through my body, I honestly don’t know how I’m supposed to feel right now.”

The National Center for Transgender Equality has condemned the attack, calling Dior an example of the violence facing trans people of color, as well as the unequal treatment and protection they receive from the criminal justice system.

“The world needs to know Iyanna’s name and understand the violence that transgender people – and particularly Black transgender people – face every day,” Mara Keisling, the group’s executive director, told HuffPost in an email statement. “Black trans people are targeted for violence as they simply try to live their lives. We must come together to end the attacks on transgender people.”

According to the Human Rights Campaign, at least 26 transgender or gender-nonconforming people were killed by violence last year. 

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