Three male-to-female (MtF) transgenders escaped with their lives after a mob of 200 men attacked them with bottles and forced them to strip naked.
The incident occurred on Saturday, May 1, at Sunset Bar in Cotonou, Benin, a country in West Africa. The violence was captured on cell phone video and uploaded to social media.
The video was shared on Twitter by NGO and LGBT+ advocacy group Hirondelle Club Benin to spread awareness about violence against transgenders.
The video shows three MtF trans being harassed by a crowd of 200 men. The men force them to take off their clothes while they are being slapped and pelted with objects.
One of the victims told The Observers that the attack was planned.
"My man knew I was transgender and asked me to invite my transgender friends. When we arrived, he asked me to go outside.
Once we managed to get outside to help our friend, they began attacking the three of us. There were about 200 men there, and they forced us to strip naked while they laughed and filmed up. It was humiliating."
The victims were able to find shelter within Hirondelle Club Benin. But they said the "whole nation" – including "our families and bosses" – viewed the video of the attack after it went viral on social media.
"We'll never be able to find a job again," one of the victims said. "Everyone here is against us. Even young children in the street have been [pointing] fingers at us."
The video caption reads:
"We have just denounced an umpteenth aggression against people LGBTQi in Benin a few days before the celebration of May 17.We condemn these acts with the last rigor. We will come back for more details."
No arrests have been made.
WARNING: The video below contains violent imagery. Viewer discretion is advised.
Nous venons dénoncer une fois encore une énième agression contre les personnes LGBTQI au Bénin à quelques jours de la célébration du 17 Mai.Nous condamnons ces actes avec la dernière rigueur.Nous vous reviendrons pour plus de détails. @EgidesAlliance @FrontlinDefend @ISDAOSankofa pic.twitter.com/CoPQ80HSzC
— Hirondelle Club Benin (@HirondelleBenin) May 1, 2021