When Ruby Corado arrived at her office on Sunday, she found broken glass everywhere, a door ripped off its frame and a shaken staffer.
Corado told NBC News a man had burst into Casa Ruby — the Washington, D.C. drop-in center and advocacy organization for transgender women she founded in 2004 — and demolished a door and physically attacked a trans woman working at the center.
“He grabbed something and threw it at her. It hit her on the arm. Then [he] walked toward her and said, ‘I’m gonna kill you, faggot,'” Corado said. “Everyone was trying to control him. He goes to the door and leaves, then a brick comes flying through the door from the outside.”
This is the third time in just two weeks that men have come to Casa Ruby to harass and attack the transgender women that meet there for support and companionship. And D.C. is not the only city to see its local LGBTQ community center hit by violence or vandalism in recent weeks.
In February and March, a spate of hate incidents occurred at LGBTQ community centers and similar venues across the nation, in a trend that has gone underreported.
On March 6, a drive-by shooting targeted the Tulsa, Oklahoma headquarters of Oklahomans for Equality. The very next day, a man entered the center harassing and threatening staff, reportedly saying “I wish you all would die.” The center’s executive director, Toby Jenkins, told The Tulsa World it was the most serious incident he’d seen in 12 years.
LGBTQ community centers in Los Angeles and Milwaukee were hit with hate graffiti in February, with workers in L.A. arriving to see “F**k Trannies” spray-painted across the walls. Milwaukee’s Diverse & Resilient center was covered in paint reading “Fag.”
The vandalism incidents do not appear to be connected to each other, but several similar attacks occurred at LGBTQ nonprofit offices, bars and at schools.
Churchgoers in New Orleans were startled on Sunday morning when a brick flew through a stained-glass window. Members of the LGBTQ-affirming First Unitarian Church had held a widely publicized town hall on anti-transgender violence less than 48 hours prior to the attack. Rev. Deanna Vandiver told The Times-Picayune the town hall may have “stirred up hate mongering.”
The offices of New Jersey’s Garden State Equality and Orlando’s Equality Florida were both vandalized about a week apart. On February 24, someone smashed the windows at Equality Florida, and two men kicked at the front door of Garden State Equality until it shattered on March 4.
Last Wednesday, police arrested an Indiana man they said threatened to carry out a Pulse-style shooting at a local gay bar. Police said the man entered Olly’s Bar in Indianapolis and told an employee, “I’m going to hold all of you hostage.” He also told police he had a Glock, a machete and a derringer.