CHARLOTTE, N.C. — An attack on a transgender woman riding a CATS bus on April 7 went viral last week, garnering news coverage from a variety of local sources. The brutal attack left the victim with a broken jaw, and is just the latest in what advocates say is an exponential rise in anti-LGBTQ violence.

Jayla Ware, 24, was attacked by Roy Eugene-Lav Hedman after a disagreement while riding a CATS bus in the 400 block of N. Tryon St. Hedman punched Ware in face at least a dozen times, dragged her to the floor of the bus and kicked her in the face another dozen times.

The story was originally reported last week by WBTV.

Hedman (Source: Mecklenburg Sheriff)

Ware claims the disagreement came when Hedman allegedly slipped something in her drink.

“This incident has occurred because I noticed that he had put that in my drink,” Ware told local news station Fox 46. . “I was like ‘OMG. Like, really? You going to try to do me like you did someone else in the past?”

Ware was taken to Presbyterian Hospital and was later released.

Hedman was arrested after an officer was flagged down by a witness to the event. Hedman has several prior arrests, including charges violating a protective order and three past charges of assault on a female. Officials with CATS say that Hedman will be banned from any CATS properties, including buses, for a year.

Rising anti-LGBTQ violence

Advocates say anti-LGBTQ violence has been on the rise. Ware’s attack is just the latest in a string of similar incidents, many leading to fatalities.

A January National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP) report tracking 2017 anti-LGBTQ violence shows a clear trend. That organization reported an 86 percent rise in the number of anti-LGBTQ homicides.

Among those cases in 2017 were the homicides of local trans women Derricka Banner and Sherrell Faulkner.

Banner was found shot in a car in Charlotte in September. Faulkner died in May, after suffering from several injuries resulting from an earlier September 2016 attack.

Transgender women of color are among the most at-risk for violence, according to NCAVP. Cisgender gay and bi men, as well as LGBTQ people of color generally, are also at higher risk.

A majority of homicide victims were aged 35 or younger, and over half of the crimes involved the use of a firearm.

Click here to read the full NCAVP report.

Matt Comer previously served as editor from October 2007 through August 2015 and as a staff writer afterward in 2016.

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