Unfortunately, there has been two more murders of transpeople in Chicago and Puerto Rico.
According to the Human Rights Campaign, 28-year-old Tyianna Alexander, who was known as Davarea Alexander, was murdered in Chicago earlier this month. Alexander was one of two people shot near a railroad line. Right now, there’s not enough information available to tell whether the murder was a hate crime based on anti-trans bias, according to Gay City News.
The Chicago police, however, have received criticism for misgendering Alexander in initial reports. The police later stated that they did not mean to “insult” the victim and those grieving her death. The misgendering was a result of the police department not having a process for collecting a victim’s gender identity. Instead, they go by government records.
“Within the last month, Chicago has lost two Black trans women to transphobic violence,” wrote the Brave Space Alliance, a Black, trans-led LGBTQ advocacy group, on Twitter after noting that another Black trans woman named Courtney Eshay Key died in Chicago earlier this month. “Courtney Eshay Key and Davarea Alexander were murdered in our city, and now, once again, we must mourn as a community. All Black trans lives matter, and yet we are increasingly faced with systems and individuals who speak those words but do nothing to prove their commitment to Black and trans liberation.”
“Beginning this new year with another death of a Black transgender woman is frustrating,” said Tori Cooper, HRC Director of Community Engagement for the Transgender Justice Initiative. “We must take action now and continue to affirm that Black Trans Lives Matter. Tyianna was important to her community, to the trans community and to the world. We will continue fighting for justice for her, and for all transgender and gender non-conforming people whose lives have been cut short.
Tyianna Alexander’s death wasn’t the only one this week, however. As the Washington Blade reports, Samuel Edmund Damián Valentín was murdered in Puerto Rico earlier this week. Damián’s body was found on December 9 in the middle of a highway in Trujillo Alto. The body shows several bullet wounds and, unfortunately, the police there also misgendered Damián in early reports.
“They (authorities) must investigate the hate angle in the Jan. 9 murder of Samuel Edmund Damián Valentín, who the police initially treated as a woman, but it’s about a trans man,” said Pedro Julio Serrano, founder of LGBTQ rights group Puerto Rico Para Tod@s, in a press release.