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Melissa Campus
South America

Brazilian Trans Activist Melissa Campus Attacked

Melissa Campus
Photo supplied by Melissa Campus

Transgender activist Melissa Campus was attacked on her way home January 12th. The attack which begun as simple robbery turned violent when then assailant realized that Mellisa’s was transgender. What he didn’t know was that this attack would make headlines.

Planet Trans talked with Melissa(MC) this morning who began with a little background information.

MC: In 1995 I began addressing the issues of gender identity, social exclusion of the transgender population, Prostitution and Sexual Exploitation and Gender Violence caused by prejudice and social discrimination.
Our advocacy in Londrina, Brazil has centered on LGBT movement in the state of Paraná, because living as Trans or as a Transvestite does not allow us to live hidden leads us to face society in a quest for our space, our rights, and our dignity.
The work of the Collective Elitytrans Londrina was founded in 2012 by our current president and friend Christiane Lemes, and myself. We work for the political representation of this Trans and transvestite population, for the construction of affirmative Public policy, for our community.

The attack…

I was returning from a trip to arriving at 02:30 at the Londrina bus station. I was very tired and just wanted to get home. As I got into a taxi, a man appeared out of nowhere, jumping in front of the taxi and accusing me of stealing their belongings, saying I couldn’t leave. All I had with me was my luggage.

Still he kept accusing me saying that I had his belongings when he noticed that I was a trans woman and began to publicly humiliate me questioning my feminine identity, using male pronouns, intentionally misgendering me.

All the people who were there just watched as he pulled me out of the car, and the driver did absolutely nothing and refused to intervene. I only asked him to me take away, but the driver refused, putting me face to face with the aggressor, who started assaulting me with punches, kicks and trying to pin me.

I screamed for the police, security guards, taxi drivers, anyone, but no one did anything. They were watching and laughing!

He attacked me three times in the first two times I just defended myself. But the third time, this coward picked up trash cans, road signs, and traffic cones, and hit me with them. That’s when the desperation of the situation became apparent and I reacted. I took the hand of the aggressor and we went to the ground and when I got him immobilized…oh yes…the people intervened. But when he first attacked me, no one intervened, but when I could react, oh yes they demonstrated.

KB: Do you think this attack was intended to silence you?

Everyone wanted to silence me, the attack was clearly transphobia … with an attempted robbery against me, followed by aggression and humiliation … Nobody asked me if I was hurt, needing ambulance …
I asked the bus station the staff to call the police, but the police arrived until 40 minutes later ….

When the police arrived, they didn’t believe me when I told them that I was a victim. I had to say several times that it was who had called the them. And even in the presence of the police, the assailant kept trying to demoralize me, and the police were apathetic, treating it like a case of road rage or neighborhood argument.

At the police station, I was hurt, but they put me in a corner and I left me there for hours, not asking me if I needed medical care, just telling me to wait. They wouldn’t call me by my name and kept misgendering me.

When they finally showed her the police report they omitted her statement simply calling it a fight, ignoring the attempted robbery and transphobic bashing, simply calling it a fight between neighbors.

The same day when she got to the hospital, they refused to see her or even make a record of her wounds. According to The IML, which should make the photographic record of the photos and the application of forensic examination, threw the victim into a lobby without being answered. Only the next day, accompanied by a doctor friend and a particular reporter, was a record of injuries made and an examination scheduled for 10 days later which of course would not make a real record of the injuries.

“Employees seem completely unaware of the right to social behalf of trans people and transvestites: do not ask, do not register and did not want to know. In the lobby, there is no space where a woman victim of violence can be accepted and have respect for her modesty for example, as this she may be bruised, with torn clothes.” said Melissa.

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Kelli Busey an outspoken gonzo style journalist has been writing since 2007. In 2008, she brought the Dallas Advocate on-line and has articles published by the Reconciling Ministries Network, The Transsexual Menace, The Daily Kos, Frock Magazine the TransAdvocate, the Dallas Voice and The Advocate. Kelli, an avid runner is editor in chief at Planet Transgender which she founded in 2007.