IDAHOBIT 2018: Transgender women are still being killed at an alarming rate
This International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT), it’s important to highlight one of the most maligned and discriminated against groups in the acronym – transgender women.
IDAHOBIT is marked every year on May 17, with the date chosen to mark the anniversary of the World Health Organisation’s decision to remove homosexuality from their classification of diseases in 1990.
When thinking about the difficulties and discrimination that is still faced by the LGBT community in many ways, it’s important to look at the setbacks and tragedies that have lined the way and see how much progress still needs to be made.
2017 was the deadliest year for transgender people in the US on record, but 2018 is shaping up to be almost as violent once again, particularly against trans women of colour.
10 transgender women have been confirmed as being killed since the start of 2018.
Christa Leigh Steel-Knudslien
Christa Leigh Steel-Knudslien, known for founding and running Miss Trans New England and Miss Trans America pageants, was killed on January 5.
Her husband, Mark Steele-Knudslien, has been arrested on suspicion of the murder after he confessed to police that he had killed her.
An autopsy found that she died from a loss of blood from a stab wound.
Viccky Gutierrez was killed and found severely burned on January 10.
Gutierrez, was originally from Honduras but lived in Los Angeles, and was described by friends and family as “such a sweet girl.”
The victim was reportedly a sex worker and friends believe that she may have faced additional issues because of this.
28-year-old Zakaria Fry was reported as missing on January 29.
Police were alerted about Fry disappearance’s after the family of her housemate found his home in “disarray”.
One body was later found stuffed into a rubbish bin, another was found two miles away on the same road just outside of Santa Fe, Albuquerque.
Celine Walker was found shot to death in a motel room in Jacksonville, Florida on February 4.
The 34-year-old woman was misgendered by authorities after her death, as police reports misgendered Walker and used her deadname meaning initial reports did not recognise her trans identity and caused the announcement of her death to be delayed by over a week.
Tonya Harvey, 35, was shot dead on Shepard Street in Buffalo, New York on February 6.
Local trans rights activist Ari Moore told Buffalo News: “The hatred, the bigotry and the aggressive attacks on trans people is almost an everyday occurrence in our lives.”
Like many other trans victims, Harvey was originally misgendered by police. This was later corrected by the authorities.
Phylicia Mitchell was shot dead in Cleveland, Ohio, on February 23.
The 45-year-old victim was found in her living room with bullet wounds in her chest.
Police were unable to determine a suspect or a motive for the shooting. Her partner of 30 years, Shane Mitchell, said that he is distraught over her loss.
A man and a teenage girl were arrested after Naomi Hersi was found dead in a London hotel room on March 18.
Hersi was found with knife injuries in the hotel near to Heathrow Airport and pronounced dead at the scene 30 minutes later.
The 36-year-old woman, who lived in Mill Hill, north London, was described on social media as a “tennis lover, music junkie, film and tv addict.”
Amia Tayrae Berryman
Amia Tayrae Berryman, a 28 year old from Louisiana was found shot to death in a motel room on March 26.
Police were reportedly called to the Baton Rouge area of Louisiana after reports of gunshots outside a motel in the Wooddale East neighbourhood.
While police did not misgender her, local news reports at the time misgendered Berryman and used her deadname.
Sasha Wall, a 29-year-old woman, was the eighth trans person to be killed this year after she was shot in her car in Chesterfield County, South Carolina.
Authorities reported that her car was stopped on a country road for more than two hours with her body slumped over the steering wheel, as drivers went around her without stopping.
By the time someone did pull over to check, Sasha had died.
Donovan Dunlap, a friend of Sasha’s, wrote: “you had me always taking photo of you, you stayed ready for the camera.
“I will miss you my beautiful sister. I cannot sleep, I hope they find who did this.”
Carla Patricia Flores-Pavon
Police confirmed Carla Patricia Flores-Pavon, 18, had been choked to death but few details have been released
Dallas Police said Flores-Pavon had been choked to death. She was discovered unconscious and was pronounced dead at the hospital.
On Saturday, the body of a transgender woman was also discovered in Dallas, Texas.
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They are treating the case as an “unexplained death pending a cause of death determination,” and asked anybody with information to come forward.
In the US, 28 trans people were killed in 2017 alone, making it the year with the highest number of homicides targeting trans or non-binary people.
Many deaths of trans and gender non-conforming people go unreported. Even when the deaths are reported, trans people are frequently misgendered in reports, making it especially hard to correctly count the number of deaths in a given year.
Often, these statistics do not also include deaths by suicide.
A 2016 report by the National Centre for Transgender Equality found that 40 percent of transgender adults have attempted suicide with the report highlighting “pervasive mistreatment, harassment and violence in pretty much every facet of life whether that be in the schools, the workplace or family life.”
A similar report, published in 2017 by British LGBT+ group Stonewall, revealed that nearly half of transgender children have attempted suicide.