Hundreds Rally in Harlem After Beating Death of Transgender Woman

Transgender actress Lavergne Cox was one of the hundreds who rallied in Harlem after Islan Nettles was killed in a beating

By Ida Siegal
|  Wednesday, Aug 28, 2013  |  Updated 9:37 AM EDT
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Transgender actress Laverne Cox was one of the hundreds who rallied in Harlem after Islan Nettles was killed in a beating. Ida Siegal reports

NBC 4 New York

Transgender actress Laverne Cox was one of the hundreds who rallied in Harlem after Islan Nettles was killed in a beating. Ida Siegal reports

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Hundreds of people gathered in Harlem Tuesday night to mourn the 21-year-old transgender woman who was beaten to death, allegedly after a group of men discovered she was born male. 

Islan Nettles died of blunt impact injuries to the head after she was assaulted by a group of men near 148th Street and Eighth Avenue on Aug. 17, authorities say. 

Nettles' mother cried as she spoke to the crowd at a rally to denounce hate crimes against the gay and transgender communities Tuesday.

"Thank you for supporting my baby," said Delores Nettles. "I'm going to make sure it does not happen again."

There was a series of anti-gay attacks in the spring across New York City; more recently, a gay couple was attacked while leaving a movie theater in Chelsea. 

City Council speaker and mayoral candidate Christine Quinn. who is openly gay, said, "Eventually enough has to be enough. I don't know what's wrong with some people, why who I am or who transgendered people are is offensive to them, but at the end of the day I don't really care. It is not OK for people to act out their feelings in a violent way."

Transgender activist Nicole Bowles said, "In 2013, for us to still be stuck in that stigma, and society to still be so angry because a person chooses to be what their heart desires is very unfortunate." 

Also at the vigil was transgender actress Laverne Cox, who has risen to fame on the new hit show "Orange Is the New Black." 

"It saddens me that a 21-year-old girl, that her life was taken away for no good reason, because of hatred, because of misunderstanding," she said. 

Police have charged a suspect with assault.

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