Statement of New York State Senator Duane
Re: Alleged Bias Attack on Transgender Woman in Jackson Heights, Queens

July 1, 2009

"Yesterday, the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund (TLDEF) reached out to my office about an alleged bias attack that took place early in the morning on June 19th in Jackson Heights, Queens."

"The victim, Leslie Mora, a 30-year-old transgender woman, reports that as she was walking on Roosevelt Avenue, two men severely beat her with a belt buckle while yelling homophobic slurs. The assailants were apprehended by the police, and the Queens County District Attorneyfs office has charged the men with felony assault with intent to cause physical injury with a weapon."

"Since learning of the attack, my office has been working with TLDEF, the NYC Anti-Violence Project and other elected officials to ensure that Leslie Mora's attackers are brought to justice. My staff has also reached out to the Queens District Attorney's office to express my concern about the case.

"All forms of violence, and especially violence motivated by hatred and bigotry, are deplorable. It is especially disturbing that this alleged attack took place during Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Pride Month, and is the second such Pride Month incident reported to me in recent days. Sadly, increased LGBT visibility and empowerment are often met with a spike in hate violence against LGBT people. This underscores our continued need to reduce ignorance, hatred and bigotry in our society."

"New York Statefs Hate Crimes Law, which I fought hard to pass, clearly states that crimes in which individuals are targeted and attacked because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation are classified as hate crimes. Ms. Morafs account of her assault appears to fit this definition. I expect the Queens District Attorney will expedite its investigation and pursue the case to the fullest extent of the law."

Statement of New York State Senator Duane
on Alleged Anti-Gay Bias Attack on
the Upper East Side

June 29, 2009

"On Sunday morning, my office was alerted to an apparently homophobic bias attack that occurred early Saturday morning on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. The victim, Joseph Holladay, a former New York City resident visiting a friend, was beaten outside of an apartment building allegedly by a group of men who shouted anti-gay slurs. He was hospitalized and is now recovering from the serious injuries he received. As of today, I am able to report that Mr. Holladay's case has been referred to the New York City Police Department's Hate Crimes Task Force for further investigation."

"I am deeply disturbed by this attack. Hate and prejudice of any kind are unacceptable in New York City or anywhere and there is a heightened injustice that this apparently anti-gay incident occurred during Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Week, a time of celebration for the LGBT community. My office is working with other elected officials as well as the New York City Anti-Violence Project, the NYPD's LGBT liaison Tim Duffy and the 19th Precinct to ensure that those who are responsible for this attack are brought to justice."

"I want to thank those witnesses who have already come forward and ask others who witnessed this violent act to call 1-800-577-TIPS with any pertinent information."

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