A homeless transgender woman was brutally attacked on an Oregon beach after using a women’s restroom, Portland's KATU News reports.
Lauren Jackson, who had recently moved to Oregon from Utah, was beaten last Saturday at Agate Beach State Park in Newport.
According to court records, a woman who had used the public restroom with Jackson complained to her husband, Fred Costanza, 37, about the trans woman. Witnesses say Costanza found Jackson, held her hair, and punched her in the face "more than ten times."
According to the Newport News Times, Costanza was drunk at the time of his arrest two days later. The Idaho resident is a multi-state offender who was previously arrested for failing to appear in another case.
Costanza, who is being held on $140,000 bail, was indicted Thursday on first-degree bias crime, second-degree assault, menacing, and harassment charges. His next court date is September 3.
Jackson, who has a broken jaw and several skull fractures from the attack, was hospitalized at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland. Doctors tell her she will need multiple facial reconstructive surgeries.
"Do you have to take away somebody else’s rights in order to protect someone’s rights? Is one more important than the other? I don’t know," Jackson, who began transitioning about a year ago, tells KATU. I don’t feel safe using the men’s restroom. And other people don’t feel safe having me in the women’s restroom. I believe that people are inherently good and that I live in a kind world. I don’t think I did anything wrong, and I don’t want to live in fear. I came here searching for community and I found it."
Local clergy and officials gathered outside the Lincoln County Courthouse earlier this week in support of Jackson.
"Well, frankly, it felt like a kick in the gut," said Lincoln County Commissioner Claire Hall. "I’m sad. I’m angry. I’m embarrassed for my community. The fact that the person was not a local really doesn’t make a lot of difference. It certainly doesn’t lessen Lauren’s suffering."
"People of faith to just come together and say whatever your theology is, whatever your beliefs on this issue, can we come together and say that hate is wrong, that violence is wrong?" said Pastor Bob Barrett of Yachats Community Presbyterian Church. "The type of violence that we saw last week is wrong."
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