Already Three Black Trans Women Have Been Brutally Murdered in 2015

In a span of less than three weeks, the first three known murders of trans women of color in 2015 have been reported. All are black trans women.

lamia beard

Lamia Beard, 30, of Norfolk, Virginia loved music and travel. She sang and played the flute, oboe, piccolo, and piano. She earned a full scholarship to Bethune Cookman College. She spoke French fluently. Her favorite artist was Beyoncé. She was very close to her family and friends. In an Alternet article celebrating Beard’s life, her sister, Kiara Parker, said: “Lamia used to brag to friends that she had a family who accepted her because a lot of people in the LGBT community did not have their own family to accept them.” According to the Alternet interview, Beard and her other sister, Kendall Beard, had just gotten a manicures together the day before Beard’s death. Lamia Beard’s body was found with life-threatening gunshot wounds on the morning of Saturday, January 17th. She was transported to the Sentara Norfolk General Hospital, where she passed away.

Photo from Facebook

Photo Credit: Facebook

Ty Underwood, 24, of Tyler, Texas was an assistant at a nursing home and was planning to go to school. She had recently been accepted to Kilgore College’s nursing program. Her friend, Kenya Darks, told KLTV, “She’s a fan favorite. Everybody likes Ty.” Just nine days after Beard’s murder, Underwood was found in her car, dead from three gunshot wounds, on Monday, January 26th.

No arrests have been made in either case.

UPDATE [1/28/15 2:37 PM]: A third woman, Goddess Edwards, 20, of Indianapolis, Kentucky, was actually the first reported black trans woman to be killed in 2015, as was posted today by TransGriot. Because of misgendering by the media and law enforcement, we are only just learning of Edwards’ death and still do not know her first name. This is what misgendering does. This is transmisogyny in action. Goddess Edwards (as Lourdes Hunter, the National Director of Trans Women of Color Collective, has chosen to call her) had her name stolen from her. This is a final act of violence against Goddess Edwards, of making black trans women invisible, of trying to make their lives matterless. What we know is that Edwards was murdered on January 9th. She was found at the Fern Valley Hotel and Conference Center. She was transported to the University of Louisville Hospital where she was pronounced dead of a gunshot wound to the chest. No more details have been revealed yet about Edwards. A suspect, Henry Gleaves, has been arrested and charged with murder. The only available photo is an old mug shot that the police department released, which is why there is no picture of her here out of respect for Edwards.

In all of these cases, local media continually and willfully misgendered the victims, using their dead names and the wrong pronouns even as both Beard and Underwood’s friends and family used the correct name and pronouns. Their deaths were used as clickbait. One media outlet insinuated that Beard was in an area that “transgender prostitutes are known to frequent,” to the anger and dismay of Beard’s family. Edwards’ story has been buried for weeks because of media and law enforcement misgendering.

None of this is surprising. None of this is okay.

According to the most recent report from the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs’ (NCAVP) most recent report, almost 90% of LGBTQ homicide victims in 2013 were people of color. Almost three quarters (72%) of homicide victims were transgender women, and more than two-thirds (67%) were transgender women of color. In 2014, TWOC, and mostly black trans woman, were murdered at a rate of greater than one woman per month in America. In fact, 12 out of 14 of TWOC murdered in 2014 were black women. How do you make people pay attention?

The deaths of Beard and Underwood and Edwards come shortly after the tragic and awful death of Leelah Alcorn, but have received much less attention and public displays of grief than Alcorn’s. Alcorn absolutely deserved love and support and the outpouring of emotion that followed her death. It’s hard not to see it, though — that Alcorn’s life, the life of a white girl — seems to matter so much more to so many more people.

Whether intentional or not, every person who posted about Alcorn and went to vigils for her and pledged to do better but who didn’t do the same for Beard or Underwood, is part of the problem. Is silently complicit of the invisibility and vulnerability of TWOC. Where is the outpouring of support and tears and promises from cis allies? Where is the celebration of Beard and Underwood and Edwards’ lives and dreams? Where is the 330,000 strong petition to enact laws that protect TWOC?

There’s not much to say that hasn’t been articulated perfectly by trans women of color themselves. L’lerrét, co-founder of the New Orleans chapter of the Trans Women of Color Collective, wrote in her Trans Day of Remembrance piece:

I implore you to sit back and ask yourself how you contribute to the violence and injustice against trans women of color. How do you reinforce the marginalization and ostracism of myself and my sisters? It’s all fine that we become aware of our lives but we need more than for you to finally see that we are walking this Earth. We need you to hear us. We need you to sit quietly, take notes, and begin to conceptualize what a restructured system that is void of misogynist, racist, ableist, etc oppression would look like. It’s not enough to read the names of my sisters killed off by the normative nature of this capitalistic system. Moments of silence are not enough. Calling us courageous is not enough. Having one or two trans friends is not enough. We need to begin to develop more complex analysis of the world in which we live. We need to rebuke assimilationism. It is an imperative to eradicate the prison industrial complex and the criminalization of sex work in all forms. I implore you to begin to question what has been engrained in you since birth. Own yourself and you can begin to see the truth.

I envision a period where being a black trans woman in all her glory is not deemed “courageous” or “revolutionary.” It is a ridiculous notion to think that one being themselves is revolutionary. I want to be able to walk to McDonald’s at 9:00 at night and not have to worry about being killed by transphobic bystanders, sexually molested by misogynistic jerks, or both of those things being perpetuated by police officers. I want to see my sisters out of jail cells. I want to see my sisters with jobs. I want to see them happy. I want to see black trans brilliance everywhere and until that day comes, we will not stop. The movement will always continue. Our voices will forever be the loudest. We will always walk with the fervor and passion that our fore sisters embodied. We are the revolution. We are Goddesses. Our lives matter.

Mey, our Trans Editor, recently wrote:

…it’s no coincidence that nearly all of these women are trans women of color, many of them black. As we’ve seen recently (and all throughout our lives, to be perfectly honest), black lives are not valued very much in America. When you live at the intersection of being transgender, a woman and a person of color, you are especially likely to be targeted for violent attacks or discrimination. This is even more true for black trans women.

Following the deaths of Beard and Underwood, trans activists and leaders took to Twitter, calling for justice and for recognition that #blacklivesmatter and #translivesmatter, demanding a #blacktransrevolution that is centered on the work communities of TWOC are already doing to make change.

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Listen to trans voices. Listen to black voices. Listen to TWOC. Follow TWOC leaders.

Say their names: Lamia Beard. Ty Underwood. Goddess Edwards. May they rest in power.


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KaeLyn is a 33-year-old (femme)nist activist and the reigning Queer Fat Korean Immigrant Ms. America Pageant winner. She is a full-time community organizer and a part-time lover/sex educator. You can typically find her binge-watching TV, over-caffeinating herself, standing somewhere with a mic or a sign in her hand, eating tofu, or just generally doing too many things at once. She lives in Rochester, NY with her partner-in-crime/spouse and their furkids: a xenophobic cat, a timid bunny, and a sassy guinea pig. She occasionally blogs about adding a human kid to the mix at Queer Family Matters. Talk sexy about intersectionality, cult movies, or theatre nerdiness to her at @kaelynrich.

KaeLyn has written 84 articles for us.

52 Comments

  1. Thumb up 18

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    The sad thing is, when leelah committed suicide, I heard about it almost immediately. My Facebook and Twitter feeds were buzzing about her death. But the fact that two women were murdered and I literally knew nothing about it until this article is really troubling.

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      I’ll give you a hint – whoever murdered them wasn’t white.

      If you want people to care and take notice, the first thing you should probably do is stop trying to turn this into an us vs. them race issue.

  2. Thumb up 2

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    This is so incredibly sad. This is the first I’ve heard about the tragic deaths of these two women, so thank you for reporting on it here. If there isn’t a petition to enact laws to protect TWOC out there, maybe we need to be the ones to start it!

  3. Thumb up 6

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    The media tends to hone in on suicides more than murders, and in her suicide note, Leelah Alcorn included a direct call to action to end transphobia. So I think those two factors yield more media attention when compared to a person being murdered, which unfortunately is reported by the news media multiple times an hour. I’m not saying it’s ok for people to not ignore these women’s deaths, but I think there are some reasons why Leelah got more attention.

    • Thumb up 15

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      There’s no doubt media focused on Leelah’s suicide note which had a lot to do with that story going viral. But there’s also no doubt white-controlled media routinely ignores black/latino/native victims and even more so when it’s considered “black on black” violence. Media’s attitude is largely “it doesn’t have to do with ‘us’ (IOW, white people) and wouldn’t interest our viewers/readers so who cares.” Most murders of trans women in the US fall into this category. Sadly, most gay/queer media is every bit as bad.

    • Thumb up 3

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      After her death, Leelah Alcorn was framed as being an innocent, with easily dislikable villains (her parents and the conversion therapists) for the public to blame.

      Lamia Beard or Ty Underwood, like so many trans girls and women who are assaulted or murdered are viewed by the media as having brought it on themselves…with the commonly accepted implication that the attacks were justified. The media still assumes any trans girl or woman who is attacked was either a provocative gay guy, a deceptive predator, a slut or a sex worker (or some combination of the four).

      Leelah managed to frame her own story as being an innocent. This is something white trans women have done since as far back as Christine Jorgensen. I had the privilege (because of my blonde hair, white skin and gentle demeanor) of being seen as an innocent, good girl in college. As stifling as being a lily-white good girl was…I know it is a refuge of safety denied to many girls.

      However, simplifying the problem down to racism ignores the awful way that racism combines with misogyny to allow people to blame Lamia or Ty for their own deaths. Anyone who thinks a trans woman owes other people information about their body, including someone they are intimate with…is defending the idea that a woman can be responsible for her own death. Since non-white girls and women are often seen as being less innocent, the assumption that they are culpable in their own death is more easily accepted.

      As a survivor of violence I strongly insist that people focus on fighting the way Lamia and Ty are blamed for their own deaths. Cis folks need to be called on their hypocrisy when they only care about virginal white girls, but to put it simply, if Leelah had been murdered the outpouring of compassion would never have occurred. Being white would not have prevented her from being blamed for her own death.

      So please, do not compare suicides to murders or assaults. It is disrespectful and muddles the issues.

  4. Thumb up 4

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    (I apologize for reposting this, I failed and submitted this as a reply to a comment by Katie above. If a mod could delete my original I would greatly appreciate it.)

    After her death, Leelah Alcorn was framed as being an innocent, with easily dislikable villains (her parents and the conversion therapists) for the public to blame.

    Lamia Beard or Ty Underwood, like so many trans girls and women who are assaulted or murdered are viewed by the media as having brought it on themselves…with the commonly accepted implication that the attacks were justified. The media still assumes any trans girl or woman who is attacked was either a provocative gay guy, a deceptive predator, a slut or a sex worker (or some combination of the four).

    Leelah managed to frame her own story as being an innocent. This is something white trans women have done since as far back as Christine Jorgensen. I had the privilege (because of my blonde hair, white skin and gentle demeanor) of being seen as an innocent, good girl in college. As stifling as being a lily-white good girl was…I know it is a refuge of safety denied to many girls.

    However, simplifying the problem down to racism ignores the awful way that racism combines with misogyny to allow people to blame Lamia or Ty for their own deaths. Anyone who thinks a trans woman owes other people information about their body, including someone they are intimate with…is defending the idea that a woman can be responsible for her own death. Since non-white girls and women are often seen as being less innocent, the assumption that they are culpable in their own death is more easily accepted.

    As a survivor of violence I strongly insist that people focus on fighting the way Lamia and Ty are blamed for their own deaths. Cis folks need to be called on their hypocrisy when they only care about virginal white girls, but to put it simply, if Leelah had been murdered the outpouring of compassion would never have occurred. Being white would not have prevented her from being blamed for her own death.

    So please, do not compare suicides to murders or assaults. It is disrespectful and muddles the issues.

    • Thumb up 2

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      I agree with you that the fact that Leelah committed suicide (and wasn’t murdered) has something to with the disparate attention, but I do think that the fact that she left a public note on the Internet specifically citing transphobia as the reason she took her own life — plus the fact that she was so young — have even more to do with it. Many, many trans girls and women commit suicide (far more than are murdered), of all ages. It’s an epidemic that basically cuts across all or most demographics. Most of those suicides get no media attention whatsoever, regardless of age or race. (Unfortunately, I’ve personally known some of those women.) Or, for younger people, parents cover up both the suicide and the fact of their chilren’s transness, as Leelah’s parents undoubtedly would have if not for the note she left.

      Leelah’s situation was, I think, unprecedented. Would she have gotten the same attention if she had been black and the circumstances were otherwise identical, including the same public suicide note? I hope so, but I don’t know.

      Regardless of any of that, more attention needs to be paid to these awful crimes against trans women of color. Besides the occasional media circuses surrounding the victim-blaming that goes on when the accused killers are tried, as in the Gwen Araujo and Angie Zapata cases, or the trans woman in England who was pushed in front of an Underground train a couple of years ago.

      So I’ve

  5. Thumb up 3

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    I saw this when it was first posted: “Already two black trans women have been murdered”…and just now. “Already three black trans women have been murdered in 2015.”
    There aren’t words for this, there shouldn’t have to be. I don’t know what to do besides rage.

  6. Thumb up 0

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    It’s a tragedy whenever ANY life is lost. I don’t understand what color has to do with any of it. When you say “…As we’ve seen recently (and all throughout our lives, to be perfectly honest), black lives are not valued very much in America.” to whom are you referring? That’s a pretty powerful statement that I hope you can back up with facts. If you are going to support the racial argument for the aggravating factors of these trans women’s deaths, then you must share with us the race of the murderers.

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        These were black on black crimes. By omitting this critical fact, and making this about race, you’re leaving the reader to assume they were murdered by racist whites, and that’s a disgusting thing to do.

        • Thumb up 5

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          Frank – first, the article states that no arrests have been made in the first two cases. You are the one making assumptions about the race of the murderers.

          Second, the statistics are clear: trans women of color have an elevated risk of being murdered compared with white women. The color of their killers does not alter that fundemental fact. Sometimes (like in the case of CeCe McDonald) the attacks against trans women have an overtly racist element. In other cases, race plays a more subtle – but equally important – role.

          For example, people of color are more likely to live in poverty than white people. Being poor can mean living in a higher crime area, being pushed into sex work to make ends meet, staying with an abusive partner because you don’t have the resources to make it on your own, and other things that can increase one’s risk of being assaulted or killed. Racism can also effect men of color, influencing some to believe that the very existence of TWOC is an attack on their masculinity. Laverne Cox explains this far better than I could in this video:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7zwy5PEEa6U.

          Whether racism plays a direct or indirect role, the end result is the same: far too many trans women of color end up dead. This is unacceptable and we, as a society, need to do something about it. It’s pretty gross that you’re apparently more upset over the author’s discussion of race than you are about these women’s deaths.

    • Thumb up 11

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      The very simple fact is that the majority of trans girls and women who are murdered are not white.

      I was almost killed when I was young and other white girls and women I knew were not as lucky and did die…but the facts are that these days the majority of hate crimes against trans girls and women are against those who are not white.

      White girls and women who transition now are much more likely to find safe places to live, less likely to face discrimination at work or in school, and are less likely to be assaulted or murdered. This article muddied the discussion a bit by comparing the reaction to a suicide to that of murders, but the general problem that the public ignores the murders of black trans girls and women remains.

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      I would hope that folks personal testimonials would be enough “facts” to prove the lived realities of trans women of color. The lack of Fact compiling and the need to rationalize personal experience is part of the problem- the author of the article was providing visibility to folks that are generally ignored, misgendered and are the most target in our society. Please listen and trust

    • Thumb up 7

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      Well, that’s a quote from me, and at the time, it was just a couple weeks after the Mike Brown verdict, so that’s what I was specifically referencing. Also, I think just the fact that 12/14 twoc murdered last year in the US were black is a pretty good indicator. Also just American history and current affairs.

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        If you are going to make a racial statement, please back it up with proof that the murders had ANYTHING to do with race, and not simply because they were trans* like the rest of us. Seriously, Mey, wouldn’t it stand to reason that Trans Women Of COLOR would be anything but white?

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          Look, I get that you think you are asking for proof of cause and effect, but what you are actually doing is belittling the horrifying reality for so many people.

          I am not saying white trans folk cannot have a hard time. Over twenty years ago, when I was thirteen, I passed out from a concussion while laying in a pool of my own blood in the halls on my junior high. Weeks later when I returned to school some my friends ran up to me crying…they had heard I died.

          So yeah, white girls can be attacked and they are still dying, but things are a lot better than they used to be…if you are white. The number of murders, the percentage of all hate crimes that are aimed at twoc, the horrifyingly low number making it to 25, let alone 35…it is still a very scary time to be a trans girl or woman and not white.

        • Thumb up 13

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          Karen, Kaelyn did back up her statements with facts. She stated that “According to the most recent report from the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs’ (NCAVP) most recent report, almost 90% of LGBTQ homicide victims in 2013 were people of color. Almost three quarters (72%) of homicide victims were transgender women, and more than two-thirds (67%) were transgender women of color.”

          LGBTQ people of color are murdered at a disproportionately high rate, with black trans women at especially high risk. The evidence is extremely clearn – what else are you looking for?

          A murderer need not be overtly racist for race to play a signficant role in their victim’s death. Growing up as a person of color in a deeply racist world influences your socioeconomic status, your access to education, your ability to get a job, the way you’re treated by law enforcement, and a multitude of other factors which influence how likely you are to find yourself in dangerous situations and how likely you are to be a victim of violence.

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            And who is killing them? The underlying insinuation here is that racist white people are doing it. We all know they were killed by their own kind. Race has nothing to do with it.

  7. Thumb up 1

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    The comments section was more interesting than the article. You don’t need to blame people for posting about Leelah and not doing enough armchair activism in order to make your point about racism. Unless you’ve attended every single vigil and posted on Facebook about every single important political issue ever, whilst managing to pay your bills and have a social life, you’re really not in a position to stand on a pedestal and tell people “you’re part of the problem.”

    Unfortunately, black trans women would be getting even less attention if it weren’t for the attention around Leelah Alcorn (whose death has garnered more attention than that of 99.9999999% of all human beings). I’ve already come across several articles like this one in my FB news feed, and I hadn’t seen much if anything on this topic until then. But I’m sure you’re using this tactic in order to attempt to garner more attention by the fact that most of us are already familiar with Leelah. Nothing wrong with that. Just leave out the blame part.

      • Thumb up 7

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        We are all complicit, though, whether we like that or not. In the same context that we are all (cis people especially) complicit in Leelah Alcorn’s death–the systematic oppression and cultural shame are the root of what brought her to make the decision she did. I’m calling myself out as much as anyone else. Until we do rise up and listen to black trans women, stand with TWOC in demanding dignity and justice, we are part of the culture that kills black trans women. We just are. That’s how cisprivilege works. This is my point and my opinion.

        Yes, suicide and murder are two different types of crimes. Transmisogyny is at the root of both, though. Also, black trans women have the highest rate of suicide in the LGBTQ community, according to a 2014 survey by the National LGBT Task Force, yet when is the last time you heard of a black trans woman’s suicide going viral.

        Absolutely Leelah Alcorn’s death was worthy of mourning and of the national attention it got. Her Tumblr suicide note is absolutely what helped her message spread so quickly. On the other hand, so-called “black twitter” is constantly being criticized for being divisive and too radical when black women speak their truth via social media.

        We do need to take some of the blame if we are showing up for Leelah but not for TWOC and particularly black trans women. If even simply by our own ignorance, we are part of the problem. Which feeds the larger social context in which the epidemic of violence against trans women continues.

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            I understand what you are saying now. No, of course it doesn’t include the victims themselves. Absolutely not. Not at all.

            In the section of the article originally referenced, I am saying that bystanders and allies who have educated themselves about Leelah and Brandon Teena and other white victims of violence, but are willfully ignorant of the deeper issues of transmisogyny and racism and classism are complicit. Not paying attention to black trans women having the highest murder rate, the highest suicide rate, and being disproportionately affected by discrimination more than anyone else–that’s part of the problem.

            I think we probably agree with each other based on your other comments.

  8. Thumb up 0

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    This is not about colour. Leelah and her suicide were connected to the social media in ways that facilitated her visibility, as Leelah chose (and smartly so). It exploded on the Internet because it was always there. It was tweeted about by people outside the US, because it was visible. The argument of this article is invalid. If you don’t know about something, you won’t tweet about it. That’s it. All lives matter. Let’s not start pointless discussions and point fingers at each other, when we could be doing something positive.

    • Thumb up 11

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      Talking about racism and how it intersects with misogyny and transphobia is doing something positive. The data shows that Black trans women face a greater risk of violence than others in the LGBT community, yet their deaths so often go unnoticed. This is an incredibly important topic and it’s unfortunate that you find it to be a “pointless discussion”.

    • Thumb up 11

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      “Almost 90% of LGBTQ homicide victims in 2013 were people of color.”

      “Almost 90% of LGBTQ homicide victims in 2013 were people of color.”

      “Almost 90% of LGBTQ homicide victims in 2013 were people of color.”

      “Almost 90% of LGBTQ homicide victims in 2013 were people of color.”

      “Almost 90% of LGBTQ homicide victims in 2013 were people of color.”

      “Almost 90% of LGBTQ homicide victims in 2013 were people of color.”

      “Almost 90% of LGBTQ homicide victims in 2013 were people of color.”

      This is not an “invalid argument”, it’s a thing called “statistical fact”. Read it. Read it over and over again until you get it through your head, and then STOP SAYING this is not about colour.

  9. Thumb up 1

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    I hate to ask, but do we actually *know* Edwards’s gender identity? The mugshot showing her presenting female is very suggestive (and enough for me to default to a female pronoun), but I do worry that we might misgender her female, without direct knowledge of how she identified. Not every person who has a female gender presentation identifies as a trans woman.

    The violence and erasure against trans women of color is a huge issue, and I support attempts to correct it. But I’d hate to put forth Ms. Edwards’s death as an example without knowing how she actually thought of herself. We may never know– if no one has so much as come forward with her preferred name, it may be that the people who knew her are too disconnected from the larger LGBT community to speak up. And that, too, is part of the tragedy here.

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      It’s a legit question. I’m not totally sure I would categorize them as a trans woman. They sound as if they’re a gender variant person who seems as if they presented as a woman frequently but was also known as a gay man by other friends. The issue to me is, how were they presenting at the time of the attack? If someone is presenting “cross-gender” at the time of their murder, then it is an anti-trans crime if it involved hatred of gender expression. The news media around this case has been incredibly tight lipped (or just doesn’t care).

      It sounds as if it’s a very similar case to the Jorge Steve Lopez Mercado murder in Puerto Rico several years ago. Mercado was a gay man (to many of his friends) but did always did sex work expressing as a woman and was murdered in that role. His murder was widely reported as a “homophobic” crime without bothering to note he was dressed as a woman at the time of the murder. And just because some friends (or family for that matter) identify the victim a certain way doesn’t mean they actually know how the person identified. It’s a complex issue.

  10. Thumb up 1

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    I don’t think its right to say Leelah got more attention. She took her own life and posted her suicide note publicly to get the attention of anyone willing to do something and asking everyone to help get justice for the Trans community. It just goes to show you how well the LGBT community can come together for a cause. With that said, I haven’t heard of any of these cases until now. You said the media used the wrong pronouns and referred to the women as male terms. Things like that don’t get around fast, people die everyday and they just get mixed in the bunch. I am not, in anyway, agreeing with the media but we all know the media is a crock of crap. Us in the LGBT community know its a constant struggle for equality, so why would these cases be any different? I guess what I’m trying to say is there is a lot more the families, friends and community of these individuals could have done to get the awareness out just like Leelah had her community do. So don’t put Leelah down, I’m a proud supporter behind all LGBT acts. But idk why you think putting down Leelahs support system is going to help the community, we are suppose to stand together.

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      No one is “putting Leelah down.” Mey’s piece was discussing why some stories about trans deaths get exponentially more space than others. Race is a big factor, and I will continue to insist the biggest factor… no matter what some of the characters in this thread want to believe.

      The reason you haven’t heard much about the 3 murders is because a) queer media (which also developed within the context of a racist culture) overwhelmingly ignored them as they ignore most victims of color… it’s nothing new; b) They were publicized within the trans community (I know, because I run a trans-related news site which featured them) but, because of racism within that community, they weren’t linked to and discussed the way Leelah’s death was; c) Because of Leelah’s death going viral it started to be covered in non-trans, non-queer sites and even people who weren’t intimately connected to those communities heard about it (it was just discussed in my teenage daughter’s high school newspaper!). Instead, the 3 trans POC who were murdered get lumped together at the Transgender Day of Remembrance which, while it memorializes them and gives the appearance of caring about them as individuals, ultimately tends to deal with them as a faceless group. This is also a function of TDOR’s creation within a fundamentally racist society and who tends to be in charge of those ceremonies.

      I also note groups like the HRC and The Trevor Project routinely ignore the deaths of trans women of color (including suicides) but use deaths like Leelah’s for fundraising purposes and retitle them “LGBTQ” instead of trans. The TWOC deaths are only used for statistics to beef up the number of attacks against the LGBTQ community for, yup, fundraising purposes.

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        “Mey’s piece was discussing why some stories about trans deaths get exponentially more space than others. Race is a big factor, and I will continue to insist the biggest factor… no matter what some of the characters in this thread want to believe.”

        I still have issues comparing the reaction to a suicide to that of murders. And, I dislike when anyone treats the reaction to Leelah’s suicide as if it was the normal, expected reaction to a white, trans girl’s suicide. The reaction was an anomaly…and hopefully a sign of change. But it is unlikely that future suicides, whether of a white girl or girl of color, will garner as much attention. Having an easy to hate villain is uncommon in the aftermath of a suicide. Also, few people are as articulate while dealing with suicidal thoughts.

        If we are upset about the lack of attention given to suicides of twoc, then that should be the focus of the discussion. Conflating suicides and murders makes for a mess. Most cis folks have difficulty articulating their need to blame twoc for their own murders…so the discussion of murders needs to be focused on the transmisogyny and racism that allows their lives to be devalued. Suicides need to be addressed separately.

        “…Transgender Day of Remembrance which, while it memorializes them and gives the appearance of caring about them as individuals, ultimately tends to deal with them as a faceless group. This is also a function of TDOR’s creation within a fundamentally racist society and who tends to be in charge of those ceremonies.”

        Very well said, thank you.

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        It has absolutely nothing to do with race, simply look at the stories. Leelah killed herself so she could get the intention she got. These 3 women were murdered, and not because their killers wanted them to get attention to help the LGBT community. & like I have already stated, Leelahs case just shows you how well the LGBT community can come together. Why do you feel she can she only have other Trans supporters? Are you kidding me, we are all apart of the same community, hense ‘LGBT’ not just ‘T’. & also, again, their communities, families and friends could have done a lot more to get the world out. I can’t stress that enough. & most organization do just mind their funds, but as a member of HRC, I will personally tell you they dont descriminate on gender, race, or any other opponent.

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          I’m not going to address the racism issue (it has been discussed at length in other posts here, but please…please consider the possibility that race is a huge part of the disparity in media attention to different suicides or murders).

          That being said, please do not claim that HRC is a wonderful organization. They have made effort in the last few years to repair their image, but they are hated by many trans folk. If you are curious why, please search in google for HRC and any word similar to transphobia.

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