Target: President Barack Obama
Goal: Urge President Obama to address the transgender violence epidemic
What was once recognized as a month of celebration, reflection, and acknowledgement of LGBT victories, history, and influential advocates has turned ugly as transgender violence escalates at an alarming rate in the United States. Four transgender women were viciously murdered during LGBT pride month, raising concern about transgender rights and safety.
The first murder was that of an LGBT activist and immigrant rights advocate Zoraida Reyes of California. The 28-year-old’s body was found behind a Dairy Queen, just minutes from Disneyland. Her death has been ruled ‘suspicious.’ Another transgender woman named Kandy Hall, 40, of Baltimore, Maryland was found in a field where paramedics pronounced her dead at the scene. She suffered massive trauma to her entire body and was murdered just days after attending a celebration of the state’s new anti-discrimination law and creation of an LGBT advisory council. Next, a young trans woman in Florida, Yaz’min Shancez, 30, was discovered burned to death behind a garbage bin. Finally, Tiffany Edwards of Ohio was found shot to death — marking the fourth trans woman of color murdered during LGBT pride month.
The murder rate of LGBT people is at its highest, with reports detailing that transgender women, especially trans women of color, are at a disproportionately high risk of being victims of hate violence and crimes. Of all anti-LGBT homicides, nearly 89 percent of the victims were people of color, while 72 percent were transgender women. The prevalence and increase of trans violence during LGBT pride month is nothing short of an epidemic.
What’s more is that media coverage of these crimes proves that trans issues and rights are still hurdles to overcome, while knowledge is also limited. Multiple media outlets are guilty of referring to trans victims by their former names and genders, with a Cleveland, Ohio news station even making references to a trans victim as being ‘oddly dressed.’ The botched reporting coupled with the shocking increase in violence has prompted GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) to issue a Transgender Media Reference Guide, as well as a guide to covering stories about LGBT victims of physical assault.
While hate crimes have decreased considerably, the sudden growth of violence, crimes, and murders against trans women and trans women of color is cause for immediate concern. Sign the petition to urge President Obama to address the transgender violence epidemic and do more to protect trans women of color from further attacks.
Dear President Obama,
June, also known as LGBT pride month, has been a sobering view of the status of transgender rights and safety in America. This increase in violent deaths is an issue that needs to be addressed promptly, as the fate of countless transgender lives hang in the balance. Of all anti-LGBT homicides, nearly 89 percent of the victims were people of color, while 72 percent were trans women. While these crimes have yet to be labeled officially as hate crimes, it is ignorant to think of these deaths as mere coincidences or “average” homicides. Further, news and media outlets should do more to report these crimes without bias, and make an effort to uphold the integrity of trans victims.
No one deserves to be hurt, abused, or killed because of their sexuality or gender identity. All people also deserve to have their stories told correctly. I urge you to address this epidemic and do more to protect trans women, and trans women of color, from further acts of brutal violence.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Jidanni via wikimedia