Two queer Portlanders who reported being assaulted near downtown food carts Sept. 12 tell WW they were peppered with homophobic and transphobic slurs by a large group before two men followed and attacked them.
It's the second time this month that an LGBTQ+ Portlander has reported a bias or hate crime where their identity was targeted.
Atlas Marshall and Austin Schuchard were eating with friends at the food carts near Southwest 2nd Avenue and Ankeny Street around 2 am on Set. 12. The Portland Mercury first reported the allegation that Marshall and Schuchard's group asked fellow diners for a cigarette, and were instead met with insults, first directed toward another friend in the group, then transphobic insults toward Marshall, a transgender woman.
"She was just asking [for a cigarette] and they attacked her for her body weight and for who she was, and were calling her slanderous things and slurs, and it was just like, why?" Marshall said on Sunday afternoon. "But to throw that much hate, is really terrible."
While Marshall and Schuchard are considered staples in the local drag scene, performing respectively as Nae Nae Dominatrix and Ida Summer Garden, they were dressed down that night as they ate with friends.
As Marshall and Schuchard left, they say a man who seemed intoxicated followed their group, hurling transphobic insults and raising his fists as though he intended to fight.
Marshall said she told the man repeatedly to leave them alone, but when he came at her with raised fists, she kicked him in self-defense. Another man from that group then hit Marshall in the side of the head, knocking her to the ground. Schuchard came to Marshall's defense as she screamed for help and tried to fight back.
Schuchard sustained injuries including a black eye and a broken nose, while Marshall has cuts, swelling and pain in her knee and on the side of her head.
Marshall's partner said in a Facebook post that witnessing the attack was one of the scariest nights of his life. (He declined to speak on record with WW, but helped coordinate interviews with Marshall and Schuchard.)
"They were forcing their ideas of gender onto us and what is normal," Schuchard says. "In our eyes, we were creatures to them that were going against what they thought women look like, and [the attack was] this hatred, this homophobia, this transphobia in its purest form."
The Portland Police Bureau says Marshall's assault is being investigated as a bias crime. Any witnesses or anyone with evidence, including footage of the assault, are encouraged to contact Det. Shay Samora.
Both Marshall and Schuchard praised Samora.
"Our detective on the case does seem enveloped in this situation and is not just lollygagging over it or pushing it to the back," Schuchard said, "It seems to be her primary focus, because in the end, she seemed like she was touched by the story and wanted to make a completion into an end and get some justice out of this."
Last week, WW reported the assault of a Lyft driver in early August. The alleged assailant in that case made negative comments related to the driver's gender presentation. While Lyft announced that the alleged assailant in that case was suspended from their app, they did not mention if or how the driver will be compensated for their injuries.
Marshall says the attack made her feel frightened—but also left her with a conviction to speak up for others even more vulnerable.
"My wounds are superficial and they're going to heal, at least for the most part, and I'm a strong-ass person and I'm going to move on from this," she says. "But there are people in this world that lose their lives because of living their truth, and it's something that we need to do as a society to make a difference."