A Kamloops mother is sounding the alarm after her teenage son was attacked by a group of youths on Overlander Beach — an assault she believes is connected to the fact her son is a transgender youth.
The woman, who asked that her name not be published due to concern about retribution, said her 17-year-old son was at the beach on the north side of the Thompson River, near Overlanders Bridge, early Saturday evening (Sept. 11) when he became separated from his group of friends.
She said her son was then set upon by another group of youths who targeted his choice of fashion — including a dog collar he wears — before assaulting him.
She said her son was taunted, punched and kicked, made to walk like a dog and, most seriously, forced to cut his own arm with a knife he carries.
“They called him a freak, among numerous vulgar things, and the beating only stopped once he gave up trying to defend himself from seven people,” she said.
When her son finally reconnected with friends, they walked with him to nearby Kamloops Alliance Church, from where police were called and an ambulance took him to Royal Inland Hospital for treatment of injuries.
Along with various bruises and abrasions, the teen received five stitches for the cuts on his arm.
The teen’s mother is concerned about his safety, noting that while the teens arrested have curfew orders prohibiting them from leaving their homes between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m., there is no guarantee they will abide by those conditions.
“It’s not just them yelling names,” she said. “They took it to the next level. It scared the shit out of me that it could have been worse. The ones that aren’t afraid to act, those are the ones that scare me.”
The mother said she wants to publicize the assault to bring awareness to others about what is happening in the community to youth who might be labelled by some as being different, noting the assault may have been recorded on a cellphone by one of the assailants.
“If I found out this, or something worse, happened to someone else and I didn’t speak out, I couldn’t live with myself,” she said.
Kamloops RCMP Const. Crystal Evelyn told KTW officers responded to an assault complaint at Overlander Beach at about 8:15 p.m. on Saturday.
She said officers arrested three youths in connection with the assault, all of whom were released into the custody of their guardians, with a future court date and conditions, pending charges confirmed by Crown.
Anyone who witnessed the attack, has video of the assault or any other information is asked to call Kamloops RCMP at 250-828-3000 and reference file 2021-31947.