Why have we forgotten the Trans Women Community?
The year 2020 faces a grim statistic regarding the Trans community. (1) In seven months, at least 28 Trans women have been murdered with little recognition by the media. Why haven’t we heard more about the issue and challenges of this community? It may start with the fact that they are misunderstood. All most of us see when we look at them is a man in a dress. For most of us (even some of us within the gay community) the idea of understanding what they go through just to exist is something that does not cross the average person’s mind. Many regard the Trans community as being the sub-culture of the LGBTQ community. They are regarded with disdain if not downright disgust…especially among heterosexual men.
The average man does not want nor do they desire to understand the Transgender community because they view it as something that is in direct conflict with who they are as men.
Some of us regard their existence as being for entertainment value and then dismiss them when the show is over.
Many trans women live dangerously; often relegated to the sex industry as a means of making money to survive.
The stories behind their lives are filled with hurt, disappointment and rejection. Their families do not provide the support and understanding that they need to survive.
Some of them have taken to forming their own family within the gay community; hiding during the day and only coming out at night. And it is at night that the horror begins. The listing below is a listing of the 28 Trans women that have died this year:
(2) Names of those murdered, or suspected of being murdered, compiled by NCTE:
- Dustin Parker, McAlester, OK
- Alexa Neulisa Luciano Ruiz, Toa Baja, Puerto Rico
- Yampi Méndez Arocho, Moca, Puerto Rico
- Monica Diamond, Charlotte, NC
- Lexi, New York, NY
- Johanna Metzger, Baltimore, MD
- Penélope Díaz Ramírez, Bayamon, Puerto Rico
- Layla Pelaez Sánchez, Puerto Rico
- Serena Angelique Velázquez Ramos, Puerto Rico
- Nina Pop, Sikeston, MO
- Helle Jae O’Regan, San Antonio, TX
- Tony McDade, Tallahassee, FL
- Dominique “Rem’mie” Fells, Philadelphia, PA
- Riah Milton, Liberty Township, OH
- Jayne Thompson, Mesa County, CO
- Selena Reyes Hernandez, Chicago, IL
- Brayla Stone, Sherwood, AR
- Merci Mack, Dallas, TX
- Shaki Peters, Amite City, LA
- Bree “Nuk” Black, Pompano Beach, FL
- Summer Taylor, Seattle, WA
- Draya McCarty, Baton Rouge, LA
- Tatiana Hall, Philadelphia, PA
- Marilyn Cazares, Brawley, CA
- Tiffany Harris, The Bronx, NY
- Queasha D. Hardy, Baton Rouge, LA
- Brian “Egypt” Powers, Akron, OH
- Aja Raquell Rhone-Spears, Portland, OR
Hardy’s death is believed to be the at least 25th violent death of a transgender or gender non-conforming person this year in the U.S. She was fatally shot in Baton Rouge, LA.
Johanna Metzger is believed to be the sixth transgender or gender non-conforming person violently killed this year in the U.S.
Trans Woman Nina Pop Stabbed to Death in Missouri
By highlighting just a few of the deaths of people that belong to the gay community, the hope is that a light is shone on their lives and how they are no less loved, no less cherished and deserve better treatment by our law officials.
The police do not have a good relationship for most of the women that encompass the trans community largely because they are regarded as men that are breaking the law.
Figure 2Riah Milton of Liberty Township
Two Black trans women have been reported dead this week. Dominique “Rem’mie” Fells of Philadelphia, PA and Riah Milton of Liberty Township, Ohio. #RestInPower #BlackLivesMatter #BlackTransLivesMatter
Often, the women are dismissed not as women but as things that don’t have emotions or feelings because of when they come out, what they do to survive and the fact that most of them do not have insurance and as a result have to pay out of pocket for any hospital visits for injuries incurred during their time of existence.
It is time for the lgbtq community to embrace the members that make up the Trans community because they are truly the forgotten; their deaths meaning nothing in the media. Their value is in understanding that these people have lives that are led in ways that work for them. Their deaths deserve to have meaning. Most times, their deaths are reported to the HRC (Human Rights Campaign) which are one of the few organizations that keep track of their deaths. But what if we all could embrace our sisters? What if we could force ourselves to understand that their existence is connected to our very existence of all people?
What if we could convince ourselves that it is time to care?