Transgender man speaks out after vicious attack on Capitol Hill

SEATTLE -- A Seattle transgender man said a vicious attack left them battered and beaten on Capitol Hill.

The victim uses they/them/their pronouns.

It happened just as the Seattle Times reported a spike in the number of hate crimes being reported in Seattle.

The latest attack happened in the heart of Capitol Hill near 11th Avenue and Pike Street when someone viciously assaulted Michael Volz.

Police said the suspect shouted out loud, "Hey, happy Pride," before punching the victim in the face, and then choking them unconscious.

“I’m really encouraged by my people who have shown up for me in the past 36 hours,” Volz  said at Friday afternoon news conference. “I’m hurt but I feel encouraged by the people who loved.”

Volz is in good spirits even after a stranger punched and choked them.

“This is something that occurs far too often and I think that frequently we’re told to disappear into the background and not talk about it,” Volz said.

The picture of Volz’s face tells the story of a brutal assault.

Volz had just left a fundraiser for Orlando victims at Neumos nightclub when a stranger attacked.

The chair of SPD’s lesbian gay bisexual and transgender advisory council says the brutal assault happened only 48 hours before Pride weekend.

“An attack on one of us, one of the letters in the acronym, is an attack on all of us,” said Shaun Knittel.

According to The Seattle Times, new data shows bias and hate crimes in Seattle are on the rise.

But ever since the terrorist attack on an Orlando nightclub left 49 dead, many in Seattle’s LGBT community say now is the time to be out, loud and visible.

“We’re united. We’re not going anywhere, we’re a strong community,” said Volz. “We don’t back down and we support each other.”

Trans Pride is being celebrated in Seattle for its fourth year – but 2015 is the first time organizers have hired their own security for the event. The decision was made in the light of the shooting in Orlando.

Seattle Police are working with the FBI to locate the suspect in the Volz attach. He is described as a white man in his 20s wearing sandals and an orange- or copper-colored sweatshirt.