Laverne makes an important point that REALLY needs to be heard here’s why…
Trans women of color often get caught up in the criminal justice system for a lot of different reasons: poverty, racism, substance use, and lack of employment forcing many into sex work where they are victimized by their “clients” and the police. Then if they are incarcerated they face problems like those faced by Ashley Diamond who is being aided by The Southern Poverty Law Center in a suit demanding medical treatment for gender dysphoria. Here’s her story:
Then there is this story that should be the focus of media attention. Trans Women of Color are all to frequently victims of hate crimes. Seven, at least, have been murdered so far in 2015. Here’s the story from EBONY:
Tracy is a proud Black transgender woman, determined since childhood that, no matter the price, she would never pretend to be anything other than “my authentic self — the woman God made.”
The price has been high. She has been haunted by prejudice and pain for much of her 46 years. Tracy says she has been beaten by boyfriends, raped by strangers, shot by a stalker and “disrespected and dehumanized” by police and paramedics. All things considered, though, she’s been lucky. “None of my crew, the girls I came up with, is still around,” she laments. “My grandmother is 90 and I have more dead friends than she does. A lot of my girlfriends didn’t even make it to 30.”
Tracy is not her real name. She hasn’t forgotten the murders here three years ago of two young African-American transgender women. Being too public, she says, “can get a girl killed.” Other trans women don’t always know Tracy’s real name either. Instead, they call her Mama. They seek her out for advice. After all, she was walking in heels before many of them were born.
In Tracy’s America, she is practically a senior citizen. “There aren’t too many girls out there older than me,” she says. But Tracy doesn’t try to sell dreams about Prince Charming to her struggling sisters. It’s too dangerous out there and she has too many scars to her body and soul to waste time with fairy tales. She gives it to them straight. Her advice to “the next generation of girls” is blunt: Always be on guard. We are under attack.
In the first two months of 2015, at least seven transgender women of color – almost one a week – were murdered in the United States, from Miami to Los Angeles. Since 2013, according to the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE), nearly 30 transgender women, most of them Black and Latino, have been slain with fists, knives, guns and hate.
“We’ve had people burned in their homes,” says Raffi Freedman-Gurspan, policy adviser for the Racial and Economic Justice Initiative at the Washington, D.C.-based NCTE. “We’ve had people’s genitals mutilated after they’re dead. It’s absolutely rooted in transphobia and hatred and it’s absolutely a national crisis. And that’s just confirmed murders. It’s probably more.”
Continue reading at EBONY: Black Trans Women: In the Crosshairs – News & Views – EBONY.
I care because I care about injustice and because the first two transgender people in my life were poor, African American Trans Women. Both died of complications related to AIDS; one in 1989 and the other a couple years later. I learned from them the reality of life for Poor Trans Women of Color. There struggles were unbelievably difficult. Jean and Melissa ment a great deal to me. They deserved so much more from life. Sadly life for many has not improved much in the last quarter of a century. That is a shame and we can’t be silent!