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Living on Borrowed Time: 6 Young Trans Women of Color Have Been Murdered in America This Year

February 21, 2015 in Blogs

By Terrell Jermaine Starr, AlterNet

Trans woman activist Elle Hearns declares, “You can't kill us all,” as major trans visibility march is planned this Sunday.


When Kristina Gomez Reinwald was found dead in her Miami home on February 15, she became the sixth trans woman of color to be murdered in 2015. The average age of the women who have been killed so far is 31 years old, according to an estimate based on news reports of the women’s ages.

LaSaia Wade, an African-American trans woman and activist, is just 27 years old. “I cry every time I hear about it,” Wade, who runs the nonprofit Trans Justice Project in Nashville, Tenn., told AlterNet. “It angers me every time I hear about it. I don’t know who I am going to talk to about it other than my sisters and brothers about the situations that are happening because society sees us as something that should not have been born.”

Two of her trans female friends, Alejandra Leos, a Latina, and Gizzy Fowler, an African American, were killed last year in her home state of Tennessee. Citing a widely quoted statistic, Wade said, “The average age of a trans woman is 35. If I live to be that old, I’m lucky.”  

Wade and other trans women activists who spoke with AlterNet say the recent murders reveal systemic failures at government and community levels that have pushed trans women—especially women of color—to the margins of society. Employment discrimination, the threat of transphobic violence and lack of government resources are all barriers that keep transgender women from living normal lives.

If a trans woman is assaulted, she is less likely to seek help from law enforcement. According to a 2014 report by the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, trans women are six times more likely to experience violence from police compared to overall survivors.

Raffi Freedman-Guspan, a policy advisor for the Racial and Economic Justice Initiative at the National Center for Transgender Equality, says another problem with tracking the murders of transgender women is that not all of the killings may be linked to their …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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