Demand Justice for Murdered Transgender Woman


Target: New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver

Goal: In a response to the fatal beating of a transgender woman in Harlem, urge protection of gender expression in New York

Out with her friends on a Friday night, 21-year-old Islan Nettles encountered a group of men walking on the street. After flirting with Nettles, one of the men began pummeling her upon learning she was transgender and being teased by his friends. Homophobic slurs were yelled. The main suspect, Paris Wilson, was charged with a misdemeanor and harassment by cops who had to pull him off Nettles. He was jailed and later released on bail. After being hospitalized for her injuries, Nettles was taken off life support days later when she was declared to be brain dead. The incident is now being investigated as a hate crime.

Let us bring justice to Nettles’ killer by demanding he be punished severely for this disturbing act of violence. Let us an end cruelty of this kind by supporting protections for gender expression in the state of New York.

GENDA, or the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act, would ban discrimination in the state of New York on the basis of gender identity or expression, according to the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund. Empire State Pride Agenda explains the bill would also expand the legal definition of hate crimes to “explicitly include crimes against transgender people.”

Islan Nettles was only 21 years old. She was an intern at a New York design firm and planned to pursue a career in fashion. A heinous act of discrimination, her murder signals that we must strengthen protections immediately for the transgender community and for the rights of all persons to express their gender freely. Please sign the petition below to ensure such hatefulness will not go unpunished and that justice will be served.


Dear New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver,

I write to you in order to bring your attention to the recent murder of a 21-year-old transgender woman named Islan Nettles in Harlem. Upon learning she was transgender, a man brutally beat her until she was unconscious while homophobic slurs were yelled. Nettles was hospitalized for her injuries, and after being declared brain dead days later, was taken off life support. The suspect was initially charged with harassment and a misdemeanor for what was thought to be a “simple assault.” After being jailed, he walked free on bail. The incident is now being investigated as a hate crime.

In order to bring justice in the face of such cruelty, I ask you to urge the passing of the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination ACT, or GENDA, Bill #S00195A. This measure would ban discrimination on the base of gender identity or expression and expand the legal definition of hate crimes to include explicitly crimes against transgender people.

I urge you to take Nettles’ murder, a heinous act of discrimination, as a signal to strengthen protections for the transgender community and for all persons’ right to express their gender freely. Please ensure that such hatefulness will not go unpunished, and that these vital human rights protections be put into immediate action. It is a matter of life and death.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Madeeha Ishtiaque

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72 Signatures

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