3 Trans Women of Colour Reported Murdered in 24 Hour Period

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Normally when we lose a trans person I try to write an article about them, I try to give each of them some time in the spotlight of what I’m writing.  I share their name, I spread the story of how they died.  This time though it’s a little different.

On Saturday morning I did my normal check through my social media and news messages to catch up on what I missed during the night.  I was saddened and shocked to find out that not one, or even two, but three trans women were being reported as muredered.

Elisha Walker, Ashton O’Hara and Kandis Capri.

Elisha Walker, aged 20, went missing last year, her body was found in a ‘crude grave’ in Johnston county, North Carolina.

Ashton O’Hara, aged 25, was found murdered in the same park in Detroit where Amber Monroe was found killed just the week before.

Kandis Capri, aged 35, was shot to death outside of her friends apartment in Phoenix.

Despite the fact that the three women were killed at different times their murders were all reported within the same day, a day that is going to sit heavy for many in the transgender community.

The loss of these three women bring the total number of trans women killed in the United States to sixteen.  The total number killed in the US last year was only twelve.  We’re at sixteen and we’ve still got almost a third of the year left to go.  Things aren’t getting better.

There are many people who are saying that things are getting better for the trans community.  Transgender celebrities like Janet Mock, Laverne Cox and Caitlyn Jenner are making the headlines and putting a positive face on the community.  Laws are changing to make things better for us.  We’re becoming seen as regular people, not the ‘monsters’ society used to paint us as.  It’s all great for the trans community right now.

Except, it’s not.  We’re becoming more visible in the public eye yes, but everything else is getting worse for us.  The rate of murder of trans people, and particularly trans people of colour, is rising.  We’re facing numerous anti-trans laws and legislation designed to strip us of our rights.  We can be openly discriminated against with little to no repercussions for those that do.  We have trouble receiving much needed medical care and treatment.  We have our history erased in popular culture.  We get mocked and attacked in the street.

So what I want to say to cis people right now is this, the trans community is strong, it has to be.  We’ll come back from all of these adversities, and come back stronger, but don’t for a second think that things are okay for us right now.  We are facing hardships and threats that we don’t deserve.  We’re being denied our human rights, we’re facing violence and discrimination.  We’re being killed in the streets like animals.

It has to stop, but we can’t stop it on our own.  You need to help us.  Challenge those who would mock us, vote against anti-trans laws, complain about trans erasure, stand up to those who would wish us harm.

The trans community is made up of fighters, we will fight this, but please don’t let us face it alone.

The average life expectancy of trans people is 38.  38 years old.  That’s nothing.  Through suicide, ill health and murder our expected time alive is less than 40, the age where apparently ‘life begins’.  That statistic terrifies me, and it should terrify you too.  It should enrage you.  Why do trans people have such short lives?  Why are they dieing so young?  Because of everything we have to face.  Because we’re being murdered.

Media still reports on the murder of trans people whilst mocking us.  They use our past names and pronouns, they try to find criminal activity in our past to show that we were not ‘innocent’.  They show less concern for our growing murder rate than they do the killing of a lion.

I know I might get some backlash for saying that, everyone seems to love Cecil the Lion, but think about it, really, in the weeks since the whole Cecil thing what have you heard about more in the news or on social media, a lion being killed or the half dozen trans women killed?  I’m betting a lot of you are going to have to say the lion if you’re being honest.

And that’s part of the problem, the media is quicker to latch onto a story such as that and run with it for weeks or more than murdered trans women because one is looking at the crimes of an individual and the other is looking at the crimes of a whole community.

It’s easy to look at one person who everyone can vilify and say ‘well I’m better than that, I’m a good person’ than looking at the systematic abuse of a whole minority that would make people have to take a very hard look at their own behaviour.

I’m not saying that everyone is to blame, that would be unfair and untrue, but most of you are playing a part in what the trans community are facing.  You might not be the ones shooting us, stabbing us, beating us to death, but you’re adding to the hardships we face.

If you ignore the anti-trans laws being proposed as ‘not your problem’, then you’re helping towards our oppression.  If you laugh at a TV show that makes a tranny joke, you’re helping towards our oppression.  If you see a trans person being harassed and do nothing, you’re adding to our oppression.  If you use the wrong names or pronouns, you’re adding to our oppression.

Don’t be one of those people that makes our lives harder.  Don’t be one of those people that helps lower our life expectancy.  Change your attitudes, challenge our oppressions, stand as an ally.  We’re going to keep on fighting because we don’t have a choice.  We’re going to keep being abused, we’re going to keep being killed, but if you help us maybe that can one day stop.

Amy.

xx

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Amy Walker

Amy is a journalist and editor contributing the websites Planet Transgender, Gay News Network, The Bottle Episode, The Retro Box and Claire Channel. Amy is also a published comic book writer and letterer.
In addition to her writing Amy has also worked with the Centre For Hate Crime Studies in Leicester and has worked in the capacity of an advisor to the United Nations Entity For Gender Equality and The Empowerment of Women.

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15 Responses to 3 Trans Women of Colour Reported Murdered in 24 Hour Period

  1. Pingback: The Transgender Epidemic | The Mamabear Chronicles

  2. Mike August 17, 2015 at 8:49 pm

    I really appreciated this article. My one question is, where did you find the 38 year life expectancy statistic? I tried googling but I couldn’t find anything. Thanks!

  3. Holly August 18, 2015 at 4:26 am

    God Bless you and the Transgender Community.

    I admit I have known very little until recently about the life, reality or inner beingness of any Transgender persons. Caitlyn Jenner and Jazz have both opened my eyes and heart to the humanity I had never realized. My compassion has been awakened anew.

    I promise to speak up anytime I am witness to that which degrades, mocks or moves to dehumanize Transgender People.

    I promise to vote for that which is right and just.

    My prayers are with you all, as is my love.

    • Celina July 19, 2016 at 3:17 pm

      . Thank you. And to add, if I may, I actually did build my first office – hammered in the framing, hung drywall, painted, carpeted, etc… On the 2nd, I drew the plans, bought the materials and supervised a cooncarttr. Everything you mentioned above is what I've been through for the last 11 years. Other piers of mine could have done the same, but they chose not to. So I resent Obama's statement. The only one who helped me, and is still in my corner is God.

    • http://www./ November 24, 2016 at 4:14 pm

      I don’t understand what u mean “if only tamil blood running u con’t win, u need socilisam blood”. Do u think tamil blood don’t know socilizam. First u can read socilizam related to tamil people. Any izam related to people only win. Not alone. Also u mean to don’t kill people if they do against your country. Then agree karunanizhi,jeya activities also. Who ever doing unfavour to country should be killed my people organization. no option to win.

  4. Pingback: 19 trans women reported murdered in the US this year

  5. Mikah August 18, 2015 at 3:37 pm

    Ashton wasn’t a woman. He was genderfluid/genderqueer and using he/him pronouns at his death. Please don’t misgender the dead, and please don’t erase nonbinary trans people. 🙁

  6. Pingback: At least 18 transgender women have been murdered in 2015

  7. Pingback: At least 18 transgender women have been murdered in 2015 - Pasawai.com

  8. Lucien August 19, 2015 at 6:48 am

    I’ve known transgenders not be completely honest when engaging in sex, when the wrong person finds out they feel betrayed,angered,deceived I think if you are going to go thru the change you should be able to take the rejection, not everyone will like to mate with a trans…….

  9. Morgann Blackwood August 20, 2015 at 1:35 am

    Lucien,

    Your ignorance and apologism for murder is disgusting and you should be ashamed of yourself. If you had any idea at all how difficult how obscenely difficult it is to be trans you would have more compassion. I don’t give a fuck if some cis dude feels “betrayed”. No trans person is obligated to reveal their gender status to anyone ever, not even potential lovers. If the ego of the person they are hooking up with or whatever that they feel murder and probably a violent murder is their only recourse they deserve to be punished. No victim is ever responsible for the horrible crime committed against them. Also, its not transgenders, its either trans gender woman or transgender man. Learn how to be respectful, and especially in the comments section about 3 transwomen being murdered within a short period of time, don’t fucking victim blame. its sickening and your attitude is gross to say the very least.

  10. Pingback: Trans women and sovereignty: I stand with you | Banshee Arts

  11. Virginia August 30, 2015 at 6:47 am

    Lucien,

    By that logic, lethal road rage is vindicated, spousal abuse is vindicated, rape is vindicated. Suggesting that disappointment or anger warrants violence has all kinds of horrific implications. I’ve known plenty of service men who have come across trans women in other countries (since oppression often forces them into the sex trade) and while they were admittedly alarmed to find out, especially if the woman in question hadn’t had bottom surgery, NONE OF THEM FELT MOVED TO VIOLENCE! These are men whose very jobs were violent. Men frustrated by long periods of time without female sexual attention. And still they do not lose touch with the fact that THESE ARE HUMAN BEINGS! Three human beings were killed, likely for no other reason than being who they are. No amount of sexual frustration or anger justifies that.

  12. Pru October 1, 2016 at 4:32 pm

    I’d like to thank the author of this article as well as all the people who contributed in the comments section.

  13. Don aka Burnt Pepper October 1, 2016 at 4:53 pm

    “The average life expectancy of trans people is 38. 38 years old. That’s nothing. Through suicide, ill health and murder our expected time alive is less than 40, the age where apparently ‘life begins’. That statistic terrifies me, and it should terrify you too. It should enrage you. Why do trans people have such short lives? Why are they dieing so young? Because of everything we have to face. Because we’re being murdered.”

    Amy, don’t let the statistics terrify you. I refuse to give in to fear. Fear is how they try to control us. Instead, be fearless and strike fear back in the hearts and minds of those who try to oppress us, by speaking out against those who try to, with the truth.