Trigger warning for anti-trans violence, murder and transmisogyny
Earlier this month in Alabama, a 17-year-old trans woman was found dead and her killer confessed to murdering her. Because of misgendering by the local media, we are only now learning that Mercedes Williamson is the ninth known trans woman to be murdered in the year 2015.
Williamson’s murderer, 28-year-old Josh Vallum, reportedly knew Williamson was trans – not even a legal adult, but a 17-year-old child – and yet hate crime charges have not been brought.
These are the names of the trans women we have lost in 2015. Remember their names and their lives, taken too soon: Papi Edwards, 20, Louisville, KY;Lamia Beard, 30, Norfolk, VA; Ty Underwood, 24, Tyler, TX; Yazmin Vash Payne, 33, Los Angelos, CA; Taja de Jesus, 36, San Francisco, CA; Penny Proud, 21, New Orlean, LA; Kristina Grant Infiniti, 47, Miami, FL; London Kiki Chanel, 21, Philadelphia, PA; Mercedes Williamson, 17, Theodore, Al. There is also Bri Golec, 22, Akron, OH, who may have been a tenth murdered transgender woman (reports from friends are unclear).
This is what an epidemic of violence against trans women looks like.
At the inaugural National Trans Anti-Violence Convening this past March, Lourdes Hunter of the Trans Women of Color Collective stated, “Last year, 12 trans women of color were (reported) brutally murdered in a 6 month time span as our nation’s largest LGBT organizations celebrated the 45th anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion now known as Pride. This year, there have been at least 8 (reported) murders of trans women of color and 6 (reported) deaths by suicide of trans youth. Now more than ever, our communities are in need of healing, fellowship, to be held and to come together to address the physical and structural violence we face every day.”
Rest in power, Mercedes.