SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – Mia Tu Mutch thought she would die when two men beat her up in the Mission District for being a transgender woman, but a year later she was honored by the San Francisco District Attorney for traveling the country to speak out against hate crimes.

“This horrific hate crime that happened to me really was a wake-up call,” Mutch said, both to live each day to the fullest and to work hard to guarantee rights for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

“There’s such a need to combat homophobia and transphobia,” she said.

KCBS’ Doug Sovern Reports:

Mutch was just one of several crime victims, and witnesses to violent crimes, honored by District Attorney George Gascon on Wednesday for heroic acts that helped solve some of San Francisco’s highest profile cases.

“Some of these cases would never have been prosecuted without the assistance of people in the community that were willing to come forward,” Gascon said, even though it sometimes meant going into a witness protection program.

Gascon presented a Justice Award to a woman who bravely identified a killer later convicted of stabbing his girlfriend 40 times in front of a crowd.

The ceremony held to coincide with National Crime Victims’ Rights Week also recognized the police and prosecutors who caught two brutal killers, and public health workers who make it their job to help victims of criminal violence.

“We have people that were incredibly courageous. Certainly, we have civil servants that went above and beyond the line of duty,” Gascon said.

Mutch hoped the awards would send a powerful message to others who have been victimized and need strength to fight back.

“Don’t be afraid to advocate for yourself,” she said.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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