The 18th trans woman was murdered in the United States this year following the two murders of trans women this week. Of the 18 murders in 2018, 18 of the victims were African American with nine victims aged under 30 years.
The murdered women this week were Vontashia Bell, 18, in Shreveport, Louisiana and Dejanay Stanton, 24, in Chicago.
Passersby found Stanton’s dead body in an alleyway in Chicago’s South Side on 30 August. Police said she had a gun shot wound to the head.
‘Every time you saw her she had a smile on her face. She was just trying to live her best life as a young girl,’ activist LaSaia Wade, executive director of Brave Space Alliance, told the Windy City Times.
They cannot die in vain
Their murders have left their communities and trans people shocked. Trans groups vowed to make sure the women did not ‘die in vain’.
The Lousiana Trans Advocates group the community should mourned Bell. But, ‘we must double down our efforts to ensure that all trans people across the state have access to jobs, education, housing, and safe neighborhoods’.
‘Violence against trans people, particularly against trans women, is a plague that continues to affect our cities and communities across the state. City and state leadership must work together with the trans community to curb this violence,’ LTA said in a statement.
‘Vontashia Bell must not die in vain.
‘Her murder is a reminder of the current climate and national discourse on trans issues. Dehumanizing language and actions lower the barriers to this kind of senseless violence.
‘Shreveport and Louisiana leaders must speak out against these killings, against the ongoing, systemic devaluation of trans people that pervades our media and politics, and against the institutional racism that places almost all of this burden on trans women of color.’