A French transgender woman who was filmed being jeered and beaten during a protest by Algerians in a viral video has spoken out.
Julia, 31, said she was trying to make her way to the metro from the Place de la Republique in Paris when she was heckled and abused by men who were protesting the now former President Abdelaziz Bouteflika last Sunday.
In an exclusive interview with Tetu, an LGBT+ magazine, she said: ‘People need to know that the video only shows part of the assault. The individual you can see ruffling my hair on the video had slapped me just before.
‘Another individual took his penis out in front of me and, laughing, asked me to satisfy him.’
Julia, 31, said: ‘I looked at one of my aggressors and told him I was absolutely not afraid of him and I think this is what provoked his very violent reaction’
A protester can be seen wildly striking Julia, 31, repeatedly across the arm after she confronts him near the Place de la Republique in central Paris on Sunday
Footage shows her being shouted at before she goes to confront one of the men who then beats her repeatedly across the arm.
Members of the crowd can be heard jeering in the background as others try to intervene before the police take hold of the situation.
Transport police officers intervened and protected Julia from any further assaults.
Julia said: ‘I looked at one of my aggressors and told him I was absolutely not afraid of him and I think this is what provoked his very violent reaction.’
She continued: ‘This is sadly part of the daily lives of transgender people.. If I have taken full advantage of the media spotlight, it really is to give as much visibility as possible to the LGBT community. Because attacks like this sadly happen almost every day.
‘It is 2019, in Paris, and we can still be assaulted because we are different, because we are not part of “the norm.” So I just want to send a message of tolerance and open-mindedness.’
According to Tetu, Julia began her transformation six months ago.
Julia, 31, jostles with the crowd as the transport police move in to diffuse the situation (left) and before the violence she cuts a lonely figure on the steps, surrounded by loud protesters (right)
Julia said she told local media that she was trying to get to the metro, but that ‘three individuals blocked me’ (pictured: protesters hold smoke grenades in the Place de la Republique on Sunday, there is no suggestion these protesters were involved in the incident)
Julia said: ‘In my head, I am a woman, so I move forward and am out and proud and it does not stop me living, to go out in the street, despite what happened, and I carry on living my life and being proud of what I am.’
She added: ‘I would like to tell people who are the victims of assault in the LGBT community not to let it slide, to really file complaints, you should not hesitate. I also hesitated to file a complaint, because I was afraid it wouldn’t go anywhere. I might also have been afraid of reprisals.’
The Mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, tweeted that she was ‘indignant at this transphobic aggression, which I condemn with the greatest firmness. I want to assure the victim of all my support.
‘The parties guilty of this intolerable act must be identified and prosecuted.’
‘But I want to tell all these people ‘this is not normal, we can’t be assaulted like this because we are different, or because we have a different sexuality or a different gender.
‘So, be proud of what you are and don’t be afraid!’
Romain Burrel, the Director of the Tetu magazine, told Europe 1 that transphobic attacks are rooted in ‘toxic masculinity.’