For many transgender women, our existence is resistance.
As a transgender woman, I know when my transgender sisters are killed. My social media lights up. It’s like the beacons of Gondor go off, and there is rarely good news.
Often, those of us killed are women of color. Too often and too frequently. Transgender students and youth are under attack in schools; transgender women of color, all too often, are murdered in the streets for living their truth.
Five of my sisters were murdered in February, three in less than a week of one another in Louisiana. So far this year, seven total homicides of transgender women have been reported. All have been women of color.
I’m not here to make the argument that transgender murders are an epidemic. I’m not here to make that argument because I’m not ready to invite the arguments in response that we’re “still a statistical minority” of all murders in the US. I’m here to grieve, and to mourn for three of my sisters, all recently murdered within a week of each other in Louisiana.
It’s hard for us to keep track sometimes, though, because the media does a really good job of just following police descriptions and reports. This is a practice that often results in transgender victims being deadnamed in reports and misgendered, sometimes intentionally.
(What is deadnaming? Deadnaming is what we call it when you use the name given to us in our previous gender. It’s really, really rude, but it continues to happen all. the. time. Personally, I’m in a group of trans folx that didn’t change our names. Jordan is awfully neutral for that purpose.)
In any event, three more of my beautiful sisters were murdered. If at all possible, I’m posting the link to help pay for funeral expenses.
Jaquarrius Holland (Brown) - Killed February 19, 2017
Jaquarrius Holland (Brown) - see this page to help with funeral expenses.
(as of posting time, they’re at $3,573 of a $5,000 goal)
18 years old.
She was killed on the 19th but misgendered by the media. (To this point, I tried to find any other name, but ended up using what is on the funeral expense/memorial funding site.) Officers (warning: misgendering) arrived at the scene and found her lying unconscious on the ground with a single gunshot wound to the head.
Chyna Doll Dupreee - Killed February 25, 2017
Chyna Doll Dupree - see to this page for the memorial fund.
(as of posting time, they are at $3,028 of a $15,000 goal)
New Orleans, Louisiana.
31 years old.
According to various accounts, Chyna was in New Orleans to visit for Mardi Gras, to perform as well as to see friends and family. A friend said she was scheduled to perform the next day, in fact and officers said they found her lying between two cars, suffering from gunshot wounds. Chyna was pronounced dead at the scene.
Ciara McElveen - Killed February 27, 2017
Ciara McElveen - (note: I was not able to find a memorial fund for Ciara)
New Orleans, Louisiana.
26 years old.
According to various accounts, Ciara was stabbed to death in New Orleans. Police denied any connection between an epidemic of violence targeting transgender women of color and labeling the incident as a hate crime. The NOLA PD originally used her gender correctly, then *corrected it TO* misgender her, then said they weren’t sure.
A witness at the scene, who identified the victim for officers, said she was dragged out of a vehicle after she had apparently been stabbed more than once.
Rest in power, sisters.
Say their names. We say their names because so many media outlets, even friends and family, refuse to respect transgender peoples’ right to self-identification, even in death. We say the names of the brothers and sisters we have lost to violence because they aren’t with us any longer to speak for themselves.
Mesha Caldwell, 41 (January 4, 2017)
Jamie Lee Wounded Arrow, 28 (discovered January 6, 2017)
JoJo Striker, 23 (discovered Feb 8, 2017)
Jaquarrius Holland, 18 (February 19, 2017)
Keke Collier, 24 (February 21, 2017)
Chyna Doll Dupree, 31 (February 25, 2017)
Ciara McElveen, 21 (February 27, 2017)