Transgender murder & assault is skyrocketing—the majority of victims are women of color

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EDIT: Since originally writing this article I’ve watched (the amazing) documentary “Disclosure” and I learned A LOT from it about the role media plays in trans-shaming and fear-mongering. My intention in writing this post was to bring awareness to the issue of violence against trans people and attempt to “help” in some way.

If you are struggling with transitioning, or you are uncertain about your identity, please do not be scared to be YOU. Watch the documentary if you haven’t, or check out GLAAD’s list of resources to find somebody to talk to. You are loved, you are beautiful, you are perfect, however you identify. ❤️

The number of transgender murders and violent assaults has skyrocketed over the past year, especially when it comes to trans women of color.

Bee Love Slater, 23, is the latest victim, becoming the 18th (known) trans person to be murdered so far in 2019.

According to MSN, Bee Love, who was due to turn 24 next week, was discovered in a burned-out car in Clewiston, Florida, on September 4.

It took authorities two days to ID her, as Bee Love’s body was “burned beyond recognition,” and investigators told The Advocate that it’s one of “the most brutal murders” they’ve ever seen.

Transgender murders and violent assaults continue to increase, as the rhetoric of hate and bigotry against the trans community builds yet further.

Discrimination is rife in all areas of their life and suicide rates are significantly higher than those of non-transgender people (proportionally).

Yet so very few people care, especially when the victim is a woman of color.

Because, shockingly, it’s estimated that 75 percent of all transgender murder victims are women of color.

Many trans people are still treated as an abomination, or a joke—as if they are somehow less human than others. But, they are all “real” people with dreams, and aspirations, and hopes, and ambitions.

Transgender people feel love and sorrow, they grieve, they care, they bleed bright red blood when injured, just like every other human out there.

Because make no mistake, they ARE human—they are no less human in any way shape or form than you or I.

There are men who will secretly hook-up with a trans woman, but would never dream of being seen in public with her, let alone officially “date” her. She’s a “dirty little secret,” a fetish, that must be kept quiet at all costs.

In some instances, the man will violently beat the woman to death out of hatred for what she “made” him do. Or simply to shut her up for good, or to get rid of any future “temptation.”

Way too many trans people are disowned, shunned and even despised by their family, through no fault of their own actions, simply for being born the way they are.

Many only have friends in the trans community and can be forced to live a transient lifestyle.

Not surprisingly, they often make for easy victims, and the true number of trans-related homicides is actually unknown as they often go unreported, or the victim is misidentified gender-wise by their family.

In fact, there’s “serious under-reporting,” according to the Williams Institute, a public policy think tank focused on sexual orientation and gender identity issues.

Often this makes solving the homicide extremely difficult, and a high number of trans victims never receive any form of justice.

Sometimes though it can be even worse when the murder actually is reported.

According to the Orlando Weekly, despite the Orange County Sheriff’s Office informing deputies that Sasha Garden was a trans woman, in the official report they described her as a 27-year-old man from Jacksonville, who “was wearing a wig and dressed as a female.”

A high percentage of trans people are forced to work in the sex industry because they find it impossible to gain any other form of employment.

The unemployment rate is three times higher than that for non-trans, and nearly half of all black trans people have been homeless at some point — more than five times the rate of average.

Given all of the above factors, it’s little surprise that often times trans people turn to drugs and alcohol as a coping mechanism, and their life expectancy is significantly lower than that of fellow humans.

Shockingly, the average life expectancy of a trans woman of color in the USA is just 31-years. (Compared to 78-years, for other, non-trans citizens).

Despite gay marriage now being legal in the U.S., and high profile celebs such as Caitlyn Jenner and Laverne Cox advocating for the trans community, violence has reached an all-time high over the past year.

CNN reports that according to a recent study, nearly half of 28,000 transgender people surveyed had experienced some form of intimate partner violence.

At least 10% experienced violence at the hands of family members after they told them they were transgender, and 9% said they had been physically attacked in the past 12 months, simply for being transgender; 10% were sexually assaulted in the same time period.

According to the National Center for Transgender Equality, more than one in four transgender people has been assaulted because of their identity.

It doesn’t take a genius to work out that the recent increase in anti-trans rhetoric stigmatizes the community and raises the risk of violence.

There were 21 bills to restrict trans rights introduced in 10 states in 2018, according to TransEquality.

It’s pure hate-based prejudice inflamed by politicians eager to appeal to the darker, bigoted undercurrent of society.

Then, of course, there’s the media, always desperate for clickbait headlines.

Every time a celebrity, sportsman or politician engages in an affair with a woman who happens to be trans, the headline and story focus heavily on that fact — hammering home the message that trans women are somehow “less than….salacious…..wrong……shocking.”

Meanwhile, unlike the majority of other homicides, many trans murders are committed by complete strangers—in the most brutal and awful ways.

In the past year, according to CNN, out of the trans murders that were actually reported, eighteen victims were shot. Four were stabbed. The homes of two victims were set on fire while they were still in them. Four were beaten to death.

Every single one of the homicides remains unsolved.

Yet so very few people care, especially when the victim is a woman of color.

Here are six of the victims:

Viccky Gutierrez, 33, was active in the trans community in LA, an immigrant from Honduras, friends called her a “beautiful soul who was really nice to everyone.” She was brutally murdered and then set on fire in her home.

Trans murder victim Viccky Gutierrez, 33
Trans murder victim Viccky Gutierrez, 33
R.I.P. Viccky Gutierrez

Tydi Dansbury, 37, was found unconscious on the side of a road in Baltimore following an argument with an unidentified male. She later died in hospital, from multiple gunshot wounds.

Trans murder victim Tydi Dansbury, 37
Trans murder victim Tydi Dansbury, 37
R.I.P. Tydi Dansbury

Sasha Wall, 29, lived in South Carolina. Police found her shot in a car that had been running for two hours, right in the roadway, where people were just walking past, ignoring her slumped there bleeding out, a sheriff told CNN affiliate station WSOC.

Trans murder victim Sasha Wall, 29
Trans murder victim Sasha Wall, 29
R.I.P. Sasha Wall

Vontashia Bell, was just 18-years old. She was found on the street in Shreveport, Louisiana, shot in the chest and wrist. She loved video games and was a self-described geek, according to her social media profile.

Trans murder victim Vontashia Bell, 18
Trans murder victim Vontashia Bell, 18
R.I.P. Vontashia Bell

Amia Tyrae Berryman, 28, was killed by a gunshot wound to the chest. Her body was discovered in a Baton Rouge motel room. Friends on social media said she worked in home health care and had a “big heart.”

Trans murder victim Amia Tyrae Berryman, 28
Trans murder victim Amia Tyrae Berryman, 28
R.I.P. Amia Tyrae Berryman

Bee Love Slater, 23, was discovered in a burned-out car in Clewiston, Florida. “Bee Love was loved by many family, friends and neighbors,” the funeral home wrote in a Facebook statement.

Trans murder victim Bee Love Slater, 23
Trans murder victim Bee Love Slater, 23
R.I.P. Bee Love Slater

Rest in power and peace my sisters. You may be gone, but you will NOT be forgotten.

Your lives mattered. YOU mattered, you STILL matter.


An earlier version of this post was first published on my blog . You can follow me on YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter.

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Maxine Page is a Brit-born ex-tabloid editor who spent 16-yrs selling her soul to Hollywood. Now she lives in Oaxaca—travels, writes, paints & makes weird shit

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