On August 30th, 2018, transgender women Dejanay Stanton, 24, and Vontashia Bell, 18, became the 17th and 18th murder victims, respectively. And according to TransGriot, Bell is the 14th and youngest African American trans person we have lost to anti-trans violence in 2018.
Her Name is Dejanay Stanton
24-year-old transgender woman Dejanay Stanton was murdered Aug. 30 on Chicago’s South Side, according to Windy City Times who first reported that “her body was discovered at the alley of 40th Street and King Drive at 12:30 p.m., after persons nearby said that they had heard gunshots.
The woman was listed as a Jane Doe by Chicago Police department, but she was identified at about 6 p.m. on Aug. 30, according to Dawn Valenti, a crisis responder with Chicago Survivors, which assists family members and others impacted by violent loss. Valenti said that the victim had been legally recognized as female.
Monica Roberts wrote at TransGriot” that Stanton is the 17th trans person murdered in the United States in 2018, and the 13th African American trans person we have lost to anti-trans violence. The part that really irritates and pisses (her) off is that she is now the eight trans person under age 30 we have lost to anti-trans violence.”
Her name is Vontashia Bell
Police found Vontashia Bell lying in the street near the corner of Harrison Street and Linwood Avenue in Cedar Grove after responding to reports of gunshots being heard in the area. When they found Bell she had suffered gunshots to her chest and wrist. She was rushed to University Health Hospital in Shreveport, but died from her injuries.
Vontashia Bell is the 4th transgender person to murdered in Louisiana this year.
Bell has been misgendered in local reports, and at this time, both the police and local media state that they will not issue a correction at the request of her family. Her family has said they were concerned that not all of her family members knew she was transgender.
Violence against trans people, particularly against trans women, is a plague that continues to affect our cities and communities across the state. City and state leadership must work together with the trans community to curb this violence.
Vontashia Bell must not die in vain. Her murder is a reminder of the current climate and national discourse on trans issues. Dehumanizing language and actions lower the barriers to this kind of senseless violence. Shreveport and Louisiana leaders must speak out against these killings, against the ongoing, systemic devaluation of trans people that pervades our media and politics, and against the institutional racism that places almost all of this burden on trans women of color.
As we mourn the loss of Vontashia, we must double down our efforts to ensure that all trans people across the state have access to jobs, education, housing, and safe neighborhoods.