Stephanie Thomas and Ukea Davis two teenage girls who as luck would have it happened to be transgender. From the report
"Witnesses say a car drove up beside the two youths, and a gunman fired shots from an automatic weapon. The gunfire killed Davis and critically wounded Thomas The gunman then got out of the first car and fired additional shots into Thomas' car, killing her."
The D.C. police have said that they don't know whether this was a hate crime. What more do they need to call it a hate crime? They were gunned down for no other reason than they were transgender. And the killer came back to finish the job.
When the firefighters arrived on the scene, Stephanie and Ukea were already dead. There was nothing more they could do except the unthinkable
"The dead women were dragged out of Thomas' bullet-riddled
car, and Thomas' body was dropped face first on the ground. Later
a firefighter pushed Thomas' body over with his foot, as blood
poured from her head and neck wounds."
It's happened in Washington D.C. before, when Tyra Hunter was allowed to die by a paramedic who thought it was funny that she was transgender. It's happened in New York, when Amanda Milan bled to death as the bystanders looked on and cheered. It's happened in Chicago, when police and paramedics refused to help a transgender woman who had been shot in the back and was lying face down on the sidewalk.
There are layers upon layers of injustice that are going on here. A murderer comes back to make sure that the victim's dead. A crowd looks on and laughs. A paramedic finds it all so amusing. A firefighter is ready to risk life and limb to save a dog from a burning building, but won't lift a finger to help a transgender girl. The police don't call it a hate crime.
How can people treat other people like this?
And all the while, politicians at all levels of government smile and talk and argue about basic rights or special rights, and where we can go to the bathroom. Don't the politicians know that while they debate about hate crimes laws and non-discrimination acts, people's lives are being destroyed? The answer can start with them. It has been four years since Matthew Shepard was killed, and we still don't have a federal hate crimes law that includes sexual orientation and gender identity. And in Chicago, we still don't have protection for transgender people under the city's Human Rights Ordinance
No wonder people feel like they can treat us like this. Even
the government doesn't recognize that we are human beings.
It's murder out there. But no one seems to care.
The murders of Stephanie Thomas and Ukea Davis were the 15th and 16th hate-motivated transgender murders recorded within a 9-month period. That's almost two murders per month. This year is shaping up to be the deadliest year yet for the transgender community.
The Remembering Our Dead website (www.gender.org/remember) commemorates the lives of transgender men and women who were murdered over the past decade or so. The site now lists the names of two hundred forty two people who were killed because of their gender identity or expression. The victims of anti-transgender hate-motivated violence outnumber those killed in the bombing of the Oklahoma City Federal Building.
Do we have to wait until the number of people on the Remembering Our Dead list surpasses the number of victims of the World Trade Center attack before people sit up and take notice?
Stephanie Thomas and Ukea Davis remember those names. When the battle for transgender rights is won, and our history is written, their names will stand with the hundreds of other innocent transgender people who were murdered just for being who they are.
Miranda Stevens-Miller welcomes your comments at MirandaSt1@aol.com.
Photo by Israel Wright
Copyright 2002 Lambda Publications
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