The Spanish-language death threat was left on the voice mail of the newly-opened Casa Ruby, the first and only Latina transgender agency serving the D.C. area. Translated roughly, the message says, “You deserve divine punishment and death, but before death you should suffer. You are damned from birth to death.”
Ruby Corado is the founder of the agency, and she was the one who initially retrieved the message. “I am very upset,” says Corado. “This is something that I didn’t expect so soon.”
The organization opened its offices on June 6, 2012. Created and directed by transgender activist Ruby Corado, Casa Ruby is the first and only organization of its kind in the Washington, DC, area offering “community, social and resources for LGBT queer Latinos.” It provides services like a general drop in center, ESL services, counselling and mental health help, and has this week provided free HIV testing.
The threat the group received this week is being taken seriously by the police and by the organization itself, and for good reason.
In July of last year a trans woman in the Washington DC area was shot at just weeks after another trans woman was murdered. Since then, there have been a number of violent incidents directed at Washington DC’s LGBT population. This prompted Mayor Vincent C Gray to speak out over his concern such attacks were hate crimes.
Bias motivated crimes based on sexual orientation and gender identity have seen a sharp increase in the area over the past few years, going from 35 in 2009 to 45 in 2010, according to the Metropolitan Police Department’s 2010 report on bias-related crimes.