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Harlem Transgender Woman Dies After Saturday Attack

by Bobby McGuire
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Thursday Aug 22, 2013
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Police are investigating a Saturday night attack that lead to the death of a transgender woman in Harlem as a possible hate crime. The incident marks the latest in a string of anti-LGBT attacks that have plagued New York since Spring and the first fatality since the shooting death of a gay man in Greenwich Village in May.

Islan Nettles, 21, who according to police also went by the names Vaughn Nettles and Alon Nettles, died today after being taken off life support at Harlem Hospital where she was taken for wounds suffered last Saturday night in what police are investigating as a bias attack.

As reported in DNA Info, the incident occurred around 11:00 PM when Nettles and another transgender woman were attacked by a group of men near West 148th Street and Eighth Avenue. According to police, the men, after learning Nettles and her friend were transgender, attacked the women, throwing punches and yelling homophobic epithets.

The alleged attack occurred across from a police precinct.

After the attack, Nettles was taken to Harlem Hospital for her injuries, but could not be revived. As reported by NY1, the NYPD said that the victim remained on life support at the request of her family so that loved ones could pay respects.

According to police, a 20-year-old has been arrested in connection with the case and charged with misdemeanor assault. The suspect’s name has not been release pending an expected upgrade of the charges.

"Fashion became a definite decision for my life after my first show with my hand designed garments in high school at the 11th grade," Nettles wrote on her LinkedIn page , DNA Info reports. A former intern at Harlem design house Ay’ Medici, Nettles hoped to work in the fashion industry.

The Nettles assault is the latest in a string of incidents of violence against the LGBT population that has plagued New York this year. Last May, Mark Carson, was shot and killed in Greenwich Village by an assailant who allegedly targeted him for being gay.

According to RT, there have been 68 anti-gay attacks in the first eight months of 2013. The 2012 total of 54 violent anti-gay incidents is expected to double by years end.

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