Trans Lives Matter

By Marla Newsom

Keisha Jenkins, 22, was attacked and killed by five to six males, and shot in the back while exiting her vehicle. Keyshia Blige, 33, shot in the shoulder, and lost control of her vehicle resulting in a crash that killed her. Jasmine Collins, 32, stabbed to death over an argument about the shoes she was wearing. Tamara Dominguez, 36, was the victim of a brutal killing that police have not labeled a hate crime. Elisha Walker, 20, who had been reported missing was found beaten dead and buried behind a house. Kandis Capri, 35, shot to death with no suspect found. Ashton O’Hara, 25, beaten to death. Shade Schuler, 23, shot to death. Amber Monroe, 20, shot to death. K.C. Haggard, 66, stabbed to death. India Clarke, 25, beaten to death. Mercedes Williamson, 17, stabbed to death and buried in a field. London Chanel, 21, stabbed to death. Kristina Gomez Reinwald, 46, stabbed to death. Penny Proud, 21, shot to death. Taja Gabrielle DeJesus, 36, stabbed to death. Yazmin Vash Payne, 33, stabbed to death. Ty Underwood, 24, shot to death. Lamia Beard, 30, shot to death. Lamar “Papi” Edwards, 20, shot to death. Bri Golec, 22, stabbed to death by father.

All of the names listed are transgender women. A record breaking 22 trans women have been murdered in 2015 that has been recorded. Most of these deaths are not labeled as a hate crime by police, but the question is, “Should these be labeled as hate crimes?” and if so, “Why aren’t they?” These women were killed maliciously and it makes you think about the transphobia that is going on in our country and whether or not it is taken as serious as it should be. All of these names should not be forgotten, but be a reminder that transphobia is real and it exists in our country. The lists of deaths will continue to grow the longer we don’t take a stand. Some of the women listed were college students with a life ahead of them, but like you and me, they won’t be able to finish.

Trans Advocates such as Laverne Cox, Janet Mock, Aydian Dowling, Amiyah Scott, and Jen Richards continue to raise great awareness for the transgender community and inform those who aren’t aware of transphobia. Oxford Dictionary states that transphobia is an intense dislike of or prejudice against transsexual or transgender people. In recent news, Caitlyn Jenner has brought a light to the transgender community, but she does not represent them as a whole.

The National Health Care for the Homeless Council states, “In a study of 381 LBGT youth service providers, three of the top reported reasons for LBGT youth becoming homeless were: running away due to family rejection (46% of respondents), being forced out or expelled from the home by their parents (43% of respondents), and aging out of the foster care system (17% of respondents).” While most are forced to leave home to live on the streets or in foster care there are some who try to find housing on their own. The National Transgender Discrimination Study states that 19% of those who try to live on their own are denied and 11% are evicted. In addition, the struggle continues while finding jobs; of those who have jobs 47% admitted to different employee outcomes than others, and 90% face harassment or rude conduct on the job.

As students, there is much we can change about the world around us for the better if we open our hearts and our minds. Should our value on earth be determined by our sex or gender? Our generation has immense power to bring awareness to transphobia issues. What will you do about it?

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