A trans woman who was the victim of a violent attack in Denver, which left her with a fractured jaw, sat down with ABC News to discuss the ordeal. In an interview last Thursday, Amber Nicole Hernandez says she was out drinking with friends at a bar in Denver this past April when the attack occurred.
While Hernadez doesn’t remember the attack, she asked a friend to record video after feeling unsafe. “I had so much blood in my mouth and my throat — all over,” she said. “This wasn't just some black eye. It wasn't some scrapes and bruises.”
“I hear the fear in my voice, just knowing that I knew something was coming,” she added. “It's scary to see myself in that situation. It's just something I never thought would happen.”
Hernandez sustained a broken jaw in three places, which had to be wired shut for a month.
According to ABC News, police have still not made an arrest in the case. According to Vice magazine, only 42 percent of investigations pertaining to trans violence result in arrest, compared to about 61 percent of murder cases across the general public.
Hernandez’s story echoes that of Muhlaysia Booker, a 23-year-old trans woman who was attacked by a mob after a minor traffic accident, which spread across social media. One month later, Booker was fatally shot in a separate incident, which made her the fourth known case of a transgender person killed in 2019.
According to a 2015 survey from the National Center for Transgender Equality, one in ten transgender women say they were physically attacked within that past year, in a wave of violence that the American Medical Association has declared an “epidemic.” At least 18 trans people have been killed so far this year, a majority of whom were Black women.
Activists like Laverne Cox have referred to the crisis as a “constant state of trauma, grief, and grieving.”
According to ABC News, Hernandez remains hopeful, praying that her injuries don’t impact her transition and her ability to undergo gender-affirming surgeries. Her doctor at the Denver Health Medical Center said that was unlikely.
“At first, I felt sad, almost heartbroken that someone could take that away from me,” Hernandez said. “You know, not give me the ability to do what I feel like I need to do to feel like my whole self. But knowing now that they did not take that away from me — that I still have that opportunity — it’s just, it’s beautiful. I love it. I’m so excited."
Hernandez said her experience has inspired her to speak out in honor of slain trans women. To date, hate crime laws have been enacted in over 45 states and Washington, D.C. — 15 of which doesn’t protect queer and transgender people.