Content warning: This article mentions violence against trans people and femicides.
Nicole Pastrana, a Puerto Rican trans woman, is currently hospitalized after being beaten and stabbed around midnight Wednesday. Despite multiple stab wounds and head trauma, Pastrana managed to escape her attackers to seek help at a nearby hospital.
Three men were involved in the attack, Pastrana told police.
Pastrana is well known in the community for her work in LGBTQIA+ nonprofits.
LGBTQIA+ activists like Ivana Fred Millán and Karina Torres have spoken out against Pastrana’s treatment by the very police meant to assist her, though. The report originally filed by officials misgendered and deadnamed her, as did several news reports. Fred Millán called the offense a type of police violence: “It has to stop, now.”
Pastrana’s attack comes soon after a trans woman, Michellyn Ramos Vargas, in her early thirties, was found fatally shot on September 30. At least six killings of trans people in Puerto Rico have been documented in this year alone.
The five women among them are part of an alarming number of femicides—at least 32 now—that have occurred on the island, plus a startling number of new cases of missing women and girls.
Protests calling for Governor Wanda Vázquez to declare a state of emergency are ongoing; groups like the Colectiva Feminista en Construcción have been pressing for action for years, as high rates of femicides are a long-standing problem on the island.
Vázquez considered this last fall, but ultimately did not take specific action. Many Puerto Ricans believe mandatory gender equality education in schools could help, but conservative politicians, including Vázquez, are against it.