Xtra Weekly
2 min

11 Black trans women have been killed in the US this year

Here’s your Xtra Weekly, July 5

Credit: nito100/iStock /Getty Images Plus, Francesca Roh/Xtra

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WEEKLY EXPLAINER

The woman in the photograph stares at the camera intently, hands on her mouth, her blond hair resting on her shoulders. Her name is Brooklyn Lindsey, and her photograph was all over the news last week for the worst possible reason: she became the 11th Black transgender woman killed in the US this year. That number is projected to increase as the rest of the year unfolds.

Here’s the background 👉The Human Rights Commission (HRC) has been documenting violence against transgender and gender-expansive people since 2013. In 2018, it released a report that found that more than 130 transgender and gender-expansive people had been killed in the US since 2013, and most of the victims were trans women of colour. However, it’s hard to know how accurate this number is since many deaths go unreported.

In 2009, following the passage of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr Hate Crimes Prevention Act, the FBI began tracking crimes motivated by a victim’s actual or perceived gender identity, sexual orientation or disability. While this is valuable progress, a vast number of American jurisdictions either fail to, or inaccurately, report their data, often claiming hate crimes don’t exist. That means cases go unreported, and advocates don’t have a solid way to know how widespread the violence really is.

In a statement in last year’s HRC Addressing Anti-Transgender Violence report, Kylar Broadus, executive director of the Trans People of Colour Coalition, said, the “media, police and even family members sometimes misgender victims, making it even more difficult for advocates to collect reliable data.”

Still, the HRC determined that violence “disproportionately affects transgender women of colour, and that the intersections of racism, sexism, homophobia, biphobia and transphobia conspire to deprive them of employment, housing, healthcare and other necessities, barriers that make them vulnerable.”

Remember their names. Before even entering the second half of 2019, 11 Black transgender women were shot or killed by other violent means.

  • Dana Martin, 31, was fatally shot in Montgomery, Alabama, on Jan 6.
  • Jazzaline Ware, was found dead in her Memphis, Tennessee apartment in March.
  • Ashanti Carmon, 27, was fatally shot in Fairmount Heights, Maryland, on March 30.
  • Claire Legato, 21, was fatally shot in Cleveland, Ohio on April 15.
  • Muhlaysia Booker, 23, was fatally shot in Dallas, Texas on May 18.
  • Michelle ‘Tamika’ Washington, 40, was fatally shot in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on May 19.
  • Paris Cameron, 20, was among three people killed in a horrific anti-LGBTQ shooting in a home in Detroit, Michigan on May 25.
  • Chynal Lindsey, 26, was found dead in White Rock Lake, Dallas, Texas. Her body displayed “obvious signs of homicidal violence” on June 1.
  • Chanel Scurlock, 23, was found dead in a field in Lumberton, South Carolina on June 5.
  • Zoe Spears, 23, was found lying in the street with a gunshot wound in Fairmount Heights, Maryland, and died on the scene on June 13.
  • Brooklyn Lindsey, 32, was found dead on the front porch of an abandoned home in Kansas City, Missouri, on June 25.

In an interview with BuzzFeed News, Raven Johnson, Brooklyn Lindsey’s friend, remembers Lindsey as an outgoing, happy-go-lucky person.

“She always liked helping people, doing what she can. She would do anything for anybody,” Johnson said.

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