Her name was Amia Tyrae. She was 28 and was killed by someone with a gun.
The official numbers on the murder rate are an under count because it is actually unusual for police or local press to report the crime as the murder of a trans person even when it was someone living openly as themselves. Those tracking murders of trans folk miss most of them.
“Statistics on homicides of transgender people are difficult to compile and are not officially available because the federal government does not collect data based on gender identity. In addition, transgender homicide victims are often identified by the police using the names and genders they were assigned at birth, a practice known as misgendering.
Advocates emphasize that their tallies just include the victims they know about.
“It is impossible to have a complete and accurate number,” MJ Okma, an associate director at GLAAD, said.
Transgender people frequently face economic hardships, discrimination in housing and hiring, and high rates of homelessness, Mr. Okma said, all factors that can contribute to systematic violence. “That becomes the greater context,” he said.
Earlier today I received a call from a dear friend, another transgender woman. Some weeks back, two trans women she knew went missing. Their bodies were recently found and have now been identified.
THIS is what happens to people like me in this country based on hatred and violence.
THIS is what happens to people like me in this country where it is just fine to treat my existence as a joke.
THIS is what happens to people like me in a world where I am not entitled to dignity, where my most profound inner experience of who I am is blithely brushed aside as a whim or a lifestyle choice.
THIS is what happens to people like me when my life has no value whatsoever.
We wind up murdered in garbage bags.
You want to know why the real murder rate of trans women is much, much higher than the numbers cited on Days of Remembrance? Look no further.
One of the victims, who was also very definitely a trans woman, was identified by the police and the press as a man and called by her dead name, which I refuse to write here. They are using an old picture of her, one that was probably provided by her family.
I imagine that her family is insisting on the misgendering and the use of her dead name and the use of an image she would have found profoundly abhorrent in ways that cisgender people can never understand.
I suppose her family won in the end.
Even in death she is not allowed to be who she was. The friend who called me, who has good reason not to trust her relatives, says she is going to burn the remaining pictures she has from her old life.
I have a request. If I am murdered, please let me be me.
Her name was Christa Leigh Steele-Knudslien. She was 42 years old, and her husband has been charged with murder after attacking her with a hammer and stabbing her.
He didn’t like the things she was saying.
In the U.S., every day, three women are murdered by men in their lives. Sometimes those women are transgender.
“According to a 2015 report published by the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law, 31 percent to 50 percent of transgender people experience intimate partner violence during their lifetime. The organization also found barriers for trans people seeking help for domestic abuse, including the risk of “outing” oneself when seeking help and the lack of LGBTQ-inclusive resources.”
Rest in power, Christa.