DENVER — The Denver Police Department is investigating after a transgender woman was injured in an attack in Lower Downtown.
Amber Nicole, 23, says she was the victim of a hate crime that occurred outside the Tavern at Market and 20th streets early on April 28.
Nicole admits the incident is blurry, but says her friend witnessed two men attacking her.
“She saw me with my hands in front of me, trying to block punches from two men,” Nicole said.
The aftermath was captured in a cellphone video.
Nicole was taken to the hospital with a broken jaw and concussion, along with other injuries to her face.
“I can’t open my mouth. My mouth is wired shut completely,” she said.
DPD said the investigation is active, but has not named any suspects in the case.
Nicole is experiencing paralysis on part of the right side of her face, and said doctors aren’t sure whether she’ll ever get that feeling back.
“Why would someone do this to another person?” Nicole asked. “Why do people think this is OK to do?”
“No mother wants to get that call,” said Nicole’s mother, Juls Martinez. “But I got that call. And to walk in there and see her the way she was… I’m surprised I held it together.”
About one week after the attack, Nicole said the mental pain is worse than the physical.
“It’s sad. And I hate to know that this hasn’t just happened to me. This has happened many of my trans brothers and sisters,” she said. That is why Nicole has decided to go public with her attack, calling for change and acceptance.
“She doesn’t want anybody else to get hurt,” said Kyleigh Potts, who is also transgender and says she’s known Nicole for about five years.
“It’s about what’s going on out there, and what’s not going on out there — and what should be addressed,” Potts said. “She is such a kind person that I don’t understand even why she was targeted for any reason other than the fact that she was different.”
DPD is asking for anyone with information in the case to contact the department.
Nicole is uninsured. A GoFundMe account has been established to help cover her medical bills.
Potts has also helped organize a benefit drag show for Nicole at Blush & Blu Bar on May 8 called “A Beautiful Soul.” It’s open to the public and costs $10.