‘Leave them be’, urges mother of murdered transgender woman
The aunt of a trans woman who was murdered has spoken out about her grief.
The mother of Deeniquia Dodds has revealed the pain the loss of her daughter caused, and called for the hatred against transgender people to cease.
“I just wish they would stop targeting transgenders and let them be,” said JoeAnn Lewis.
“Stop hurting em’, leave em’ be.”
While the motive for the murder of Deeniquia Dodds has not yet been confirmed, it is possible that she was the victim of a hate crime, and police are considering bringing such charges against one of the defendants, although robbery has also been suggested as another reason for the attack.
Dodds worked as a prostitute and her family had been concerned for her safety.
Last month, D.C. police arrested a third suspect in connection to the murder. A fourth suspect is also being sought.
Meanwhile, her mother wants answers as to what happened to her daughter: “I can’t understand why, is it because of her being a transgender?”
Dodds was shot on July 4th in Washington, but died nine days later in hospital.
Lewis added: “When you look for someone to knock on that door and you know that knock is never coming no more that’s a really hurting feeling.”
The police came under fire by advocates and members of the transgender community for waiting too long before disclosing the shooting.
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“The MPD [Metropolitan Police Department] has claimed in the past to be committed to looking out for the safety of people in the LGBTQ+ community, but failing to disclose information about violence against transgender people is certainly not consistent with this commitment,” said a spokesperson from harm-reduction nonprofit HIPS.
HIPS also criticised the police for using Dodds’ birth name instead of her chosen name in the incident report.
Dodds was part of the transgender advocacy organisation Casa Ruby. Ruby Corado, the founder and executive director of the group said to Mic: “Deeniquia was part of the Casa Ruby family, and she is gone, but not forgotten. Her death will not be in vain.”
Corado added, “Casa Ruby denounces the genocide of young trans women of colour. People in leadership need to address the employment barriers that keeps trans women of colour from accessing the resources they need to grow healthy and thrive.”
Friends and family of Dodds were worried about her safety because she turned to sex work. Joeann Lewis, an aunt who raised Dodds described her as a “beautiful person” who “loved to make you laugh. Loved to make you smile.”
Initial reports of Dodds death misgendered her and it wasn’t until two days after being shot in the neck that her trans identity was reported.
Dodds, who was killed in July, was the 15th transgender person killed in the US this year. Crystal Edmonds, who died early Friday morning in Baltimore was the 21st person this year, matching the number to the total number of transgender murders in 2015.