A trans woman in Wyoming has been hospitalised after a violent attack in a dog park.
Rilee Shipley walking her dog on 15 July when another resident of her complex in Casper, Wyoming entered the gated park she was in.
She told the Billings Gazette that the man entered the park with his dogs unleashed, and she decided to leave after her pet became nervous.
The man then started cursing at her and calling her racist slurs, she said, so she quickly reported the incident to her landlord.
After coming home from work that day, Shipley said, she went to take her dog out again around 11.30pm when she saw the same man accompanied by another person and his two dogs. She described how he began yelling at her and using racist slurs again.
“He told me that me and my piece of s***t dog deserved to die,” she told the Gazette. “All this awful, awful stuff. So I leaned down and tried to put the leash on my dog so that we could leave.”
Shipley remembers being hit on the back of the head, and kicked in the side of the head.
She told the Billings Gazette that she felt her skull bounce off a fence post, and that the two men left her lying in a pool of her own blood.
A GoFundMe page was created by Shipley’s sister to help cover her medical expenses. The fundraiser – which has raised over $9,600 thus far – offered more details about the attack.
Shipley’s sister explained that the family believes the vicious attack may have been “motivated by transphobic hate”. She described how her sister was “kicked in the head numerous times and left bleeding in the dark by her attackers”.
“The Wyoming Medical Center determined there are fractures to Rilee’s orbital [eye socket] bone, lower sinus and cheekbone and stapled head wound caused by her attacker’s booted kicks,” the GoFundMe page read.
An update posted Tuesday (20 July) detailed that Shipley will need “necessary emergency surgery” to repair her cheekbone.
Despite the horrific attack, Shipley hopes to provide trans representation for others
She described how it is “scary” living in the area, and she is considering moving out of her apartment complex. But she remains hopeful that living her life as a proud trans person could help others.
“I live very publicly, proudly, who I am and my truth,” Shipley said. “And I don’t try to hide who I am… When I was growing up I didn’t know what transgender means, let alone that I could be that.”
She continued: “So if I can be that so someone else can be like, ‘whoa, hey, that’s me’, then this is all worth it.”
According to the Billings Gazette, local police said no arrests have been connected to the horrific attack, but investigators have identified people of interest. The outlet said the investigation is active and still ongoing.