Quantcast
Connect with us

Dallas transgender community on edge in the midst of violent attacks

Published

on

In late May, hundreds of mourners packed a church in the heart of the Dallas LGBTQ community to remember the life of Muhlaysia Booker. The transgender 22-year-old was shot and killed in May, her body found on a street in Far East Dallas.

Her death came just a month after she was brutally beaten in an incident that was captured on cellphone video that went viral on social media.

Those who knew Booker said she was unapologetic about being transgender — about being herself.

Jazmine Bandz, a black trans woman who was close to Booker, had a message for those who gathered.

“I just ask our community, whether it’s the black community, the human community, the aliens, and whoever else is here,” she said as the crowd laughed. “If you see somebody trans, do not make it hard for them because we already live a life full of pain.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Booker’s death is just one of a string of killings and violent attacks on black transgender women in Dallas.

Last fall, 29-year-old Brittany White was found shot to death in a car in southeast Dallas. And on June 1, the body of 26-year-old Chynal Lindsey was pulled from White Rock Lake.

They join a list of other transgender women who have been killed in North Texas in years past.

ADVERTISEMENT

Many of these cases are still open. In 2013, 34-year-old Artegus Madden was found shot in her home in Savaannah, a small town east of Denton. In 2015, 22-year-old Shade Schuler was found shot to death.

Transgender people in Dallas say this violence is scary, but they’re trying not to live in fear. Naomi Green, a black transgender woman, helped lead the support effort for Booker following the filmed attack in April.

“Silence is agreeance,” Green said. “I’m always outspoken and speaking the truth. I don’t fear what can come of all of this. I continue to live my life every day.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Dallas police say they’re looking into possible connections between the recent killings, as well as a non-fatal stabbing of a 26-year-old transgender woman in April.

At a press conference this week, Dallas Police chief U. Renee Hall said the department reached out to the FBI and is asking the community to come forward with any information.

Bandz, who spoke at Booker’s funeral, asked Hall at the conference about the recent violence. “What are we going to do to … stop the violence against people like me?”

ADVERTISEMENT

Hall answered: “That’s our goal: to provide safety to each and every person in the community.”

Violence against transgender people has been happening across the country in recent months. The Human Rights Campaign is referring to this violence as a national crisis. In April in Ohio, 21-year-old Claire Legato, a black transgender woman, was shot in the head and died from her injuries. In Philadelphia, 40-year-old Michelle “Tamika” Washington, also a black transgender woman, was fatally shot in May.

Nationwide, at least seven transgender people have been killed this year — and all were black trans women, according to the Human Rights Campaign. Over the last several years, over three-quarters of transgender people killed were black trans women.

ADVERTISEMENT

The average life expectancy for a transgender woman of color is the early 30s.

Kirk Myers is founder of Abounding Prosperity, a Dallas nonprofit that addresses economic and social disparities facing African-Americans, with an emphasis on the black LGBTQ community. He said the statistics are unacceptable, more so considering the role that trans women of color have played in LGBTQ history.

Two trans women of color actually helped start the gay rights movement. Marsha P. Johnson, a black trans woman, and Sylvia Rivera, a Latina trans woman, sparked the Stonewall Inn uprising 50 years ago in New York City.

ADVERTISEMENT

“A lot of the larger LGBTQ community is enjoying the benefits of the struggles of trans women,” Myers said. “It is unfortunate that today trans women are, in some regards, no further along than they were then… in most regards.”

Transgender people face many hurdles. They often aren’t accepted by their families. The suicide rate is disproportionately high, and they face marginalization and employment discrimination. The Human Rights Campaign estimates that the unemployment rate among transgender people is three times that of the general population. And, more than 1 in 3 report living in poverty.

In addition to already existing homophobia and transphobia, there has been legislation proposed at both the state and federal level targeting transgender people, such as so-called “bathroom bills” and the military ban. Many transgender people also face harassment and abuse from law enforcement.

ADVERTISEMENT

All of these circumstances push many trans women into sex work to survive.

“You are dealing with the stigma and the transphobia and homophobia,” Naomi Green, who also works at Abounding Prosperity, said. “… and if you don’t have a legal name change, it’s hard to get a job, or you can’t get a job. Honestly even, they refuse to provide services just because you’re trans.”

Leslie McMurray is transgender education and advocacy coordinator at the Resource Center, an LGBTQ organization in Dallas. She’s also trans.

ADVERTISEMENT

“We have to offer black trans women something better than sex work to get by, ” she said. “Because they deserve more than that, they deserve equal opportunity, equal employment, they should be able to work as administrative assistants, and airline pilots, and physician assistants, and anything that their time and talent will take them to do.”

Careers that transgender women like Brittany White, Muhlaysia Booker and Chynal Lindsey didn’t have the chance to pursue.

Editor’s note: This story was originally published by KERA News.


Report typos and corrections to [email protected].

Send confidential news tips to [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Facebook

Bill Barr may have killed probe of Trump’s payoff to Stormy Daniels: Florida prosecutor

Published

on

A Florida prosecutor called on Congress to examine whether Attorney General William Barr killed an investigation into an illegal payoff to porn actress Stormy Daniels.

Dave Aronberg, state attorney for Palm Beach County, said newly released court documents further implicated Trump and his former aide Hope Hicks in the scheme, which has already resulted in a prison term for the president's former attorney Michael Cohen -- who implicated his boss in the campaign finance law violation.

"You and I don't have the benefit of the internal DOJ policy that forbids indicting a sitting president, and I think that is relevant here," Aronberg told MSNBC's "Morning Joe." "There are a lot of things going on here. But I think that the public needs to know -- there needs to be public hearings about this. Especially I want to know what Bill Barr's role is."

Continue Reading

Facebook

Trump administration will soon expand ‘remain in Mexico’ policy for migrants to busiest part of the border

Published

on

So far, asylum-seeking migrants who land in the most heavily crossed patch of the U.S.-Mexico border, in deep South Texas, have been spared from the controversial “remain in Mexico” program that requires applicants to go back across the border to await their fate from an immigration judge.

That’s about to change, officials say.

In coming days, and perhaps as early as Friday, some of the migrants apprehended in the U.S. Border Patrol’s busy Rio Grande Valley Sector are expected to be taken back across the Texas-Mexico border and told to wait for an asylum hearing in a yet-to-be-built courtroom in Brownsville, officials say.

Continue Reading
 

Facebook

‘An attack on all of us’: Anime fans reel after deadly Japan fire

Published

on

A devastating apparent arson attack on a renowned Japanese animation firm has left anime fans and insiders heartbroken, with many likening the fire to a terror attack on their community.

The inferno that ripped through Kyoto Animation on Thursday killed 33 people and injured dozens more at a firm that has delighted fans across the world with its animations of popular manga works.d

"Kyoto Animation is home to some of the world's most talented animators and dreamers," Apple CEO Tim Cook tweeted after the attack.

"KyoAni artists spread joy all over the world and across generations with their masterpieces."

Continue Reading
 
 
 

Copyright © 2019 Raw Story Media, Inc. PO Box 21050, Washington, D.C. 20009 | Masthead | Privacy Policy | For corrections or concerns, please email [email protected]

Join Me. Try Raw Story Investigates for $1. Invest in Journalism. Escape Ads.
close-image