Most of them are trans women of color. Most are young: almost all are under 40. They’ve been shot, stabbed, beaten, and run over. They’ve been killed because society treats them like trash, and their killers get the message that they’re disposable.
This is why I have no patience left for so-called “good” people who won’t acknowledge that trans women are women, who buddy up with the people who vilify them, deny their womanhood, and work to get legislation passed that discriminates against them. It’s why I won’t tolerate slurs and derogatory jokes about trans people in my presence. Every bit of bigotry, no matter how small it may seem, adds to the danger and prejudice they face. And I am not willing for my trans siblings to suffer anymore. They have as much right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness as my white cis self does. Every single one of them was a beautiful, valuable human being. Every single one of them should have had a long, rich, and fulfilling life.
That, my cis friends, is why we must use our privilege to do all we can to end the social and legal violence done to them. And when you find it hard to do that work, there will be a list of names that should shore up your resolve.
Say their names:
Elisha Walker, 20. Trans woman of color. Missing since October 2014, body found August 15, 2015.
Papi Edwards, 20. Trans woman of color. Murdered January 9, 2015.
Lamia Beard, 30. Trans woman of color. Murdered January 17, 2015.
Ty Underwood, 24. Trans woman of color. Murdered January 26, 2015.
Yazmin Vash Payne, 33. Trans woman of color. Murdered January 31, 2015.
Taja Gabrielle DeJesus, 36. Trans woman of color. Murdered February 1, 2015.
Penny Proud, 21. Trans woman of color. Murdered February 10, 2015.
Bri Golec, 22. Genderqueer. Murdered February 13,2015.
Kristina Grant Infiniti, 46. Trans woman. Murdered February 15, 2015.
Keyshia Blige, 33. Trans woman of color. Murdered March 7, 2015.
Mya Hall, 27. Trans woman of color. Murdered by police March 30, 2015.
London Kiki Chanel, 21. Trans woman of color. Murdered May 18, 2015.
Mercedes Williamson, 17. Trans woman. Murdered May 30, 2015.
Jasmine Collins, 32. Trans woman of color. Murdered June 23, 2015.
Ashton O’Hara, 25. Genderfluid person of color. Murdered July 14, 2015.
India Clarke, 25. Trans woman of color. Murdered July 21, 2015.
K.c. Haggard, 66. Trans woman. Murdered July 21, 2015.
Shade Schuler, 22. Trans woman of color. Murder date unknown: body found July 29, 2015.
Amber Monroe, 20. Trans woman of color. Murdered August 8, 2015.
Kandis Capri, 35. Trans woman of color. Murdered August 11, 2015. (CW: link deadnames her; family is using male pronouns, but the article corrects them to Kandis’s preferred pronouns.)
Tamara Dominquez, 36. Trans woman of color. Murdered August 15, 2015.
Keisha Jenkins, 22. Trans woman of color. Murdered October 6, 2015.
Zella Ziona, 21. Trans woman of color. Murdered October 15, 2015.
Say their names.
I’ve included only United States trans folk on this list, but the murders happen worldwide. This is a crisis, and it’s up to us to stop it. Help us make this a world where people are no longer murdered for being transgender.
Erin Vernon, 21. Trans woman. Died of medical neglect on September 3rd, 2015.