It seems that the call to be a community is stronger than ever right now. With hatred and bigotry boiling over international borders, the rainbow family, no matter how many letters you recognize or identify with, the LGBT community needs to watch out for all of its members.
November Transgender attacks and deaths across the globe have been hard to believe, with the most recent one occurring last night in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in the United States.
A 21 year old transgender male was shot last night coming out of a bar at 66th Street and Lansdowne Ave, which is in very West Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Apparently he was followed from the bar (which appears to be Good Times Bar) for what appears to be almost a half a mile and then 5 shots were fired at the victim. No motive is known and he is in stable condition at this time. Here's local coverage of the incident from philadelphia.cbslocal.com.
We will have to see if this shooting in Philadelphia is a hate crime, a regular bar disagreement, or a lover's quarrel.
At this time, the shooting victim is still alive in Philadelphia, but the news isn't as good from the nation of Georgia. Zizi Shekeladze had been hospitalized in the nation's capital city of Tbilisi since mid-October, after the suspect Giorgi Murjikneli and possibly one other man, allegedly hit Shekeladze repeatedly with a metal bar and cut her throat, leaving her to die. She remained in the hospital since the attack and passed away four days ago on November 26th. Here is an excerpt from georgiatoday.ge and their report done just after the attack.
TBILISI – Georgia’s non-governmental Organizations (NGOs) have condemned an attack on a 32-year-old transgender woman, who was stabbed in the neck and brutally beaten by two men in Tbilisi’s Ortachala region on Friday [October 14].
A 34-year-old transgender woman has died from injuries sustained following an attack at a bus stop in the Eurasian country of Georgia.
The victim, Zizi Shekeladze had been hospitalized in the capital city of Tbilisi since October 15, after the suspect Giorgi Murjikneli and possibly one other man, allegedly hit Shekeladze repeatedly with a metal bar and cut her throat
Local police have opened an up a criminal investigation, saying those charged with the assault will be tried for attempted murder.
The NGOs were quick to point out that the incident is only the latest case of physical abuse and discrimination against Georgia’s LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) community.
“Fundamental defects in the justice system, and the absolute non-existence of equality laws in Georgia country have created an environment of impunity and transformed the LGBT community as the most marginalized social group in the country,” the statement of the NGOs reads.
The NGOs held a protest rally outside the Ministry of Internal Affairs on Sunday and demanded that the attackers be charged with hate crimes, though no specific legislation currently exists in Georgia.
Public Defender Ucha Nanuashvili said his office would look into the matter and determine if the victim was specifically targeted for being a member of the LGBT community.
“Unfortunately, in most cases, hate crimes are not taken into consideration during investigations…what is troubling is how ambiguous and incompetent the investigative methods are when dealing with a case like this,” Nanuashvili’s statement reads. – georgiatoday.ge
Giorgi Murjikneli, was arrested and charged with attempted murder, but now the patient and victim has died. We will have to wait and see if the charge is moved to murder. A court hearing will be held on 8 December.
Another report early this month tells of a woman found severely burnt but still alive on the steps of a police station in Chennai, India.
A transgender woman died in suspicious circumstances at the Kilpauk Medical College hospital in Chennai on Wednesday morning. Tara, a 28-year-old transgender woman who was working as an Outreach worker with many NGOs including Sahodaran and Sinegathi, was found severely burnt outside the Pondy Bazaar police station.
Angel Glady, a friend of Tara’s and a Board Member of an NGO called Tozhi, told The News Minute that Tara told her the sequence of events leading to her immolation before she died. Angel said that Tara had gone to Pondy Bazaar from her residence in Nungambakkam at around 4am to recharge her phone at a 24-hour shop there. Police from the Pondy Bazaar station stopped Tara and accused her of soliciting customers for sex work. They confiscated her mobile phone and the keys of her vehicle.
When Tara argued back, Angel alleged, the police assaulted her. They then took her to the police station for questioning, where they allegedly assaulted her again. At around 4.30am, Tara called two of her friends Aarti and Diya and told them that the police had taken away her phone and keys and were arguing with her in the station.
When the two friends came looking for Tara at around 5am, they found her lying in the compound of the police station severely burnt. They immediately rushed her to the Kilpauk Medical College hospital, where doctors told them that Tara had suffered 95% burns. By 10am, Tara died in the hospital.
Members of the transgender community allege that the circumstances in which Tara died are suspicious. Her friends have raised the question of where Tara got petrol to immolate herself when her vehicle keys had been confiscated.
Moreover, they allege that the police had refused to show them CCTV footage of Tara’s immolation.
Following Tara’s death, members of the transgender community protested outside the Pondy Bazaar police station and the KMC hospital.
They also submitted a petition to the State Human Rights Commission.
Anushree (22), a volunteer in Tozhi, told TNM, “We do not feel safe while going out at night. The police are supposed to protect us. But they always abuse us and mock our gender.”
Angel similarly said, “For transgender people, their gender orientation is a very sensitive issue. But the police keep mocking us for it.”
When TNM tried to speak to the officials at the Pondy Bazaar police station, the reporter was not allowed inside the police station.
Sources in the police department however countered this version and maintained that Tara was inebriated. – thenewsminute.com
This definitely was not an uplifting blog to write. What is sad is that these aren't the only deaths in November. We also reported on the deaths of Raina Aliev from Russia in Transgender Woman Hacked To Death After Her Wedding and Ms. Noony Norwood from Virginia in Another Transgender Person Killed. "Walking While Trans" In America Is Deadly. And those are the ones that made it to the news. How many have not gone reported as transgender deaths or attacks?
We love our LGBT allies, but maybe it is time for us to become our own allies. I know many of us may know a transgender person in our community. They may be a friend, an acquaintance, or just someone we see out once in a while, but don't personally know. Maybe we should take a personal challenge and say hello to people we see out, especially transgender individuals and let them know that we are an ally, we support them, and we will protect them. Yes, we look for protection outside of our group, but what is wrong with looking within our group and to ourselves.
We need to take a stand, we need to support one another, and we need to live without fear. Maybe this could all start with a simple hello?