Transgender woman harassed, seeks changes in state law

Submitted Photo/Abby Paden

SPEEDWAY, Ind. (WISH) – A transgendered woman in Speedway said she’s living in fear because her neighbor is harassing her.

And she said she has no legal grounds to stop it.

She said she found a note by her truck when she was leaving her apartment.

“I looked at it, it said, ‘man woman demon thing,’ and I’m like, what? What just happened? Is this a joke?,” said Abby Paden, the victim in the attack. “Then I just became paranoid.”

This happened last week. She didn’t know who it did it then. But a short time later, she figured it out.

She said her neighbor approached her, called her names, waved a Bible at her, and repeatedly stares.

She said she notified her apartment complex who told her to call the police. But police say there’s nothing they can do.

Indiana doesn’t have a hate crimes law on the books, so the only legal recourse Paden has is to file an harassment charge, but now there is one state senator looking to change that.

People should be able to walk down the street, be able to enjoy their home, enjoy their properties in the freedoms that this country created,” said Senator Greg Taylor (D-Indianapolis).

Sen. Taylor recently announced that he plans on introducing a hate crimes bill when the legislature reconvenes in January. It will be the fourth time he’s proposed it.

“Unfortunately there are some people that believe that we can be more reactive than proactive. I’m one of those who believes you can always come up with a better solution if you’re proactive on these issues,” said Sen. Taylor.

Indiana is one of a handful of states that doesn’t have a hate crimes law. Indiana also doesn’t include LGBT people in its civil rights protections. Activists said the lack of protections are forcing people like Paden to suffer in silence.

“Many of us are afraid to be visible because the consequences for being openly and visibly trans can often be violence, loss of employment,” said Kit Malone, who is also a transgendered woman and long-time LGBT rights activist.

Paden said while the law may just be words on a piece of paper, it could also change LGBT people’s lives for the better.

“That would give us a lot more respect. It would also portray us as human beings because I don’t think we’re even getting that now,” said Paden.

Paden said the apartment complex is being proactive and told the neighbor to stop or they could be evicted for harassment.

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