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Secret Murders in the United States

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Oct 21, 2010
We remember Victoria White.

Last month, lying in a hospital bed three days after gender affirmation surgery, I read about a horrific murder. A transgender woman, Victoria White, was brutally murdered in her apartment in Maplewood, NJ. When they announced her death, the police used her birth name – a name she was no longer legally known by. They cited her as male, although Victoria had gone through the same surgery as me a few years earlier to proclaim her true gender. Victoria’s murderer has not been found.

The past few weeks have been marked by so many tragic losses. Tyler Clementi. Asher Brown. Justin Aaberg. You may have heard these names, but chances are, you never heard of Victoria White.

Join me in making sure that the death of Victoria White — and other genuine, honest people trying to live as transparently as possible in an all too hostile country — are not kept a secret.

Click here to get more information about how you can help.

Sadly, Victoria is just one of the many transgender individuals we have lost. Recently, in Eureka, California, Chloe Lacey, an 18-year-old transgender woman, died by suicide. She shot herself at home after “struggl[ing] with fears of harassment and abuse.”

On National Coming Out Day, October 11th, Stacey, a transgender woman, was strangled to death in Philadelphia. When reporting Stacey’s murder, the Philadelphia Daily News put quotation marks around her name. The NBC affiliate disrespected her memory even more, reporting, “The victim is Michael Lee, a 31-year-old man who lived his life as a woman named Stacey Blahnik.”

As October is quickly winding down, and November is fast approaching, a little known annual vigil is about to take place — a vigil that remembers tragically those who lost their lives because of anti-transgender bias, prejudice, and hatred. Commemorate the 12th Annual International Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) this November. It is a time where individuals who believe in equality for all gather and remember those that were murdered based on their gender identity or expression.

Sign up to learn what you can do for the International Transgender Day of Remembrance.

I vividly remember my first Transgender Day of Remembrance. My family had abandoned me, and I had just begun to live full time in my true gender identity. I was terrified and harassed everywhere I went. Teenage boys tried to run me off the road, family members threatened to kill me, and all I could think about was surviving in a very hostile world. I felt horribly alone. In the LGBT press, I read of hundreds of people that had been murdered or committed suicide who were transgender. I realized I had never read any mainstream news about the deaths, or for that matter the lives of a whole community of people. We were made to be invisible in society, simply by the media keeping our lives a secret. Our murders and suicides were simply swept under the rug, kept secret from the world.

In the name of justice, you can help elevate these tragic murders, and raise awareness of anti-transgender violence.

Around November 20th every year, the Transgender Day of Remembrance Vigil is held. Click here to get more information on how you can hold a vigil in your congregation or community.

Remember those whose voices were silenced, whose lives were cut short. Let the transgender community know that while everyone else may have forgotten, you will not allow our dead to remain a secret. Stand with me on the side of love by helping me remind others that every life matters.

Sincerely,

Allison Woolbert

Transgender Advocate and Gender Educator

New Jersey

9 Responses to “Secret Murders in the United States”

  1. Courtney says:

    This is awful and so sad. Why can’t people stop harassing people who may be different them themselves? It begins with the parenting of the bullies…if someone doesn’t put a stop to this…it will not end…

  2. Greg Music says:

    Thank you for your moving & informative article. We are organizing our first Transgender Day of Remembrance Vigil in Bangor, Maine this year. We are trying to move forward & do better as a LGBTA community. Thank you again for your moving words.

  3. Toni Tayrien says:

    I did not realize. I assumed that everyone relocated after their surgery and lived in stealth, except to a few friends. Not that you should be forced to. (maked me think of the forcable relocating of our tribe actualy.) Our church is very vocal in our embrace of our LGBT community but did not know about Nov 11. Now we do. Thank you.

  4. Shannon says:

    I would like to thank you for such a beautiful and informative article. I have been doing research on Transgender adults and youths to help better educate the counseling community on the various needs and concerns this community demands, and is entitled to. Though I am not a Transgender adult, nor am I homosexual, I am deeply inspired daily by those who allow me to work with them. I regret there are not greater resources, or access to professionals who understand the trauma, loss and pain I have seen so many struggle with. I wish you all the best of luck in helping bring this subject to light, and I cannot begin to articulate the amount of respect and love I have for all those who have persevered in the face of opposition, fear, and ignorance.

  5. Patt Herdklotz says:

    How did the police get another name? Did the family submit her obituary under her name? Is there prejudice affecting police response? It would be good to have the whole story thus far.

  6. I appreciate and share your concern over the lack of coverage and community support for the murder of Victoria White. As we share the affirmation of our gender and cultural background. It saddens me even more to know the animosity hippocracy, deception and envy that lurks and preys on Transgender in urban communities. Trust and believe that, I will always be a voice denouncing the negative attitudes towards Transgendered (especially ” realness” girls). I am working on enlightening

  7. I appreciate and share your concern over the lack of coverage and community support for the murder of Victoria White. As we share the affirmation of our gender and cultural background. It saddens me even more to know the animosity hippocracy, deception and envy that lurks and preys on Transgender in urban communities. Trust and believe that, I will always be a voice denouncing the negative attitudes towards Transgendered (especially ” realness” girls). I am working on enlightening and raising awareness with this particular group, to which I also belong, that there is still work to be done, once we’re finished preening. Oppression and hatred is still very much a component in our lives!

  8. Ashley Horan says:

    Thank you for publishing this and inviting more UUs into the circle of solidarity and awareness. As a Candidate for the UU ministry, serving as Intern and Campus Minister at the UU Church of Davis, CA, I will be collaborating with the UC Davis LGBT Resource center to create a memorial/affirmation/vigil for the folks here in Davis. I hope that our event will be one of many sponsored and led by UUs across the country and the world!

  9. Hey great post. I found your site on yahoo randomly. Not usually the kind of site I read but im definately glad I came across it. Where did you come up with the idea for this article?

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