Black Lesbian Shanique Sanders Killed in Pittsburgh

feature image via Shanique’s Facebook

Shanique Sanders, a 23-year-old black lesbian from Homestead, was found lying in the street in Pittsburgh on Wednesday. She had at least one gunshot wound and was taken to UPMC Mercy where she was pronounced dead. Police say they’re looking for as many as five suspects who were seen fleeing the scene.

Shanique, who went by Loyalty Fashigg on social media, self-identified as a stud and grew up in Homewood, a neighborhood in Pittsburgh. PghLesbian, Pittsburgh’s LGBT blog, talked to a local LGBT activist Amber Sloan who was a friend and mentor to Shanique. Sloan, the founder and organizer of M.A.D.E. I.T. (Making Alternative Decisions Effectively Impacting Teens), says there’s a “lack of resources and supports for young studs in Pittsburgh” and that there’s been an increase in violent incidents and harassment against young queer women of color in the last few years in the city.

PghLesbian reports that in 2013 several studs were targets of assaults by men at a local bar. The community demanded “the City’s public safety and nightlife coordinators to demonstrate more competency and understanding about gender and racial dynamics when responding to these situations.” In October, a 15-year-old student at Carrick High School was turned away from her homecoming dance because of her masculine of center style. The school denied that they discriminated against the student. PghLesbian also reports that since 2013, six QTPOC (that they know of) have died from gun violence in the city. The blog notes:

“We have to invest in programs led by people like Amber Sloan and other studs to provide resources and opportunities for our young sisters so they have choices and options and access to the privileges we often take for granted. We have to raise the bar for cultural competency among all providers serving LGBTQ youth and affirm with certainty that they are truly safe and welcoming spaces for stud identified young women.”

Anyone who has information is asked to call Pittsburgh police at 412-323-7161. Callers may remain anonymous.

Rest in power, Shanique.

Yvonne S. Marquez is a lesbian journalist and Autostraddle senior editor living in Dallas, TX. She writes about social justice, politics, activism and other things dear to her heart like Selena and tacos. She graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in journalism and has since written and edited lots of gay stuff for the internet. Yvonne calls the borderlands home, strongly identifies with her Scorpio moon sign, and really hopes to crush the patriarchy soon. Follow her on Instagram or Twitter.

Yvonne S. has written 202 articles for us.

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