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Transgender Activist Says 'Bathroom Bills' Led to Her Attack

Police say a Texas transgender activist beaten in a carjacking was targeted because of her gender identity

by John Paul Brammer /
Stephanie Martinez joins others in the outdoor rotunda of the Texas Capitol on July 21.Ralph Barrera / Austin-Statesman via AP

“I’m in shock,” Stephanie Martinez, a Texas transgender activist who was carjacked and beaten last week, told NBC News. “I always try to operate with the best of intentions, and then this happens.”

Police say Martinez was targeted because of her gender identity, further raising tensions as state lawmakers advance revived legislation critics call an anti-transgender "bathroom bill.”

 Stephanie Martinez joins others in the outdoor rotunda of the Texas Capitol on July 21. Ralph Barrera / Austin-Statesman via AP

Court documents filed Monday show 17-year-old Rayshad Deloach and his 26-year-old brother, Raymond, are charged with beating and pulling a gun on Martinez before stealing her car in Austin last week. Raymond Deloach told police the brothers targeted Martinez because she is transgender.

Martinez has vocally opposed a bill requiring transgender Texans to use public restrooms according to their birth-certificate gender that's nearing passage in the Republican-controlled Texas Senate. The bill, Senate Bill 3, failed during Texas' regular legislative session but was revived for an ongoing special session.

Related: Texans Flood Statehouse to Speak Out Against "Bathroom Bills"

The day after she was attacked, Martinez testified against the bill before a Texas Senate committee.

“I think they’re to blame for the attack and for stirring up hatred,” Martinez said of the lawmakers backing the bills. “I think it’s going to get worse, and I think some people might get killed.”

“We are under attack at the Texas State Legislature, which in many ways gives people the thought that they have free reign to physically attack us,” Lisa Scheps, the interim executive director of the Transgender Education Network of Texas, told NBC News. “We are really angry about what has happened to [Stephanie Martinez], and we are so proud of her for standing up to them and remaining active on the issue.”

Republican State Senator Lois Kolkhorst, who introduced the bill, did not responded to NBC News' request for comment.

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