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.