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    Trans Lives Matter: Fighting capitalism's hate crime epidemic

    • Vol. 1
    • Iss. 7

    Yazmin Vash Payne, 33, Lamia Beard, 30, Ty Underwood, 24, and Taja Gabrielle DeJesus, 33, were taken away from their loved ones and communities by hate.

    Yazmin Payne was a Los Angeles resident, murdered by her partner and discovered in a fire. Lamia Beard was a French-speaking musician and student, living in Virginia who was gunned down with multiple bullets. Ty Underwood of Texas, also shot, was a nursing home assistant attending nursing school. DeJesus was a volunteer at a trans drop in center in San Francisco and was found stabbed to death in the Bayview District. No arrests have been made in the cases of Beard, Underwood or DeJesus.

    The most recent report from the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs states that almost 90 percent of LGBTQ homicide victims in 2013 were people of color. The report also showed that 72 percent of queer homicide victims were transgender women, and more than two-thirds were transgender women of color. In 2014, trans women of color — mostly Black trans women — were murdered at a rate greater than one per month in the U.S. Nine out of 10 trans women of color murdered in 2014 were Black. On average, according to a report by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, trans people are not expected to live past 35 years of age.

    Instead of addressing these devastating facts as the crisis they represent, the media turns these murders into entertainment, if it reports on them at all. Articles described Lamia Beard, a college student with a full ride to her university, as having been "in an area that transgender prostitutes are known to frequent." The portrayal of trans women as sex workers serves to delegitimize trans women's identities. Painfully similar to the media's characterization of Black youth murdered by police, what little representation trans victims get is rife with victim-blaming.

    A byproduct of this victim-blaming is the unspoken exemption granted to all types of violence, including domestic violence, against trans women. Yazmin Payne was stabbed multiple times by her partner, who turned himself in. The "trans panic" defense — the claim that a defendant assaulted or murdered someone after being shocked to find out the victim was trans — has been accepted in almost all states.

    Read the full article at Liberation News
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