Four Black Transgender Women Killed in One Month

By Julissa Catalan


While the media has been focusing on the killings of unarmed Black men—particularly Eric Garner and Michael Brown—there has been little coverage of the murders of four unarmed Black transgender women.

Three Black transgender women were killed in January. Their deaths went practically unnoticed by the media, and when the media did cover their deaths, the victims were misgendered as men.

On Jan. 17, Lamia Beard was found dead from a gunshot wound in Norfolk, Va.

On Jan. 26, Ty Underwood was fatally shot while driving near her home in North Tyler, Texas.

And on Jan. 31, Michelle Vash Payne was stabbed to death and found at the scene of a Los Angeles house fire. A 25-year-old man turned himself for the killing shortly thereafter.

All three victims were originally described as men by police news releases.

Additionally, a Louisville, Ky., murder victim, whom local news outlets originally identified as a 20-year-old Black man, was revealed just last week to be a trans woman. She was killed on Jan. 9.

According to BuzzFeed News, the officer investigating Beard’s murder would only refer to Beard as a man.

“It was kind of shocking when the murder happened, because they saw the body, and they could see she was transgender,” Beard’s sister, Kiara Parker, said. “I wondered why they called her male when they could obviously see she was a transgender woman.”

According to Parker, Beard had lived as a woman for over 10 years.

The killing of Black transgender women seems to be an alarming trend. At least 12 transgender women were murdered in the U.S. in 2014, according to the Human Rights Campaign.

Meanwhile the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Program reported that 67 percent of hate crimes in 2013 were against transgender women from underrepresented groups.

Per the Transgender Law and Policy Institute, 2 to 5 percent of the American population is made up of transgender people, yet an overwhelmingly high rate of that population experiences poverty, discriminatory policing, hate violence, homelessness and HIV.

“The mere fact that there has been no national outcry for the brutal murders of three Black trans women—or the 12 trans women of color brutally murdered in six months—is tragic,” said Lourdes Ashley Hunter, National Director of the Trans Women of Color Collective. “The silence and lack of action on behalf of the Black trans community from mainstream media and social-justice organizations sends a strong message that Black trans lives do not matter.”

“What’s happening with the trans women of color cases is that they’re happening under the cloak of darkness, and so it’s not as amplified,” said Danielle Moodie-Mills, an Advisor for LGBT Policy & Racial Justice at the Center for American Progress. “Their bodies are being found days later or weeks later. It’s terrible the kind of publicity and awareness we need. Something has to happen in broad daylight for us to be outraged.”

Latest News

Tennessee

Tennessee Lawmakers Move to Ban Education Against Racism in State’s Public Schools

In recent months, Republican-led states have already moved to enact racist and hyper restrictive voter registration laws, strip rights from LGBTQ individuals and attack trans students and their families — but their ongoing efforts to attack Democrats, populations of color and other diverse individuals don’t appear to be stopping there….

Latinx voting

New Study Reveals 1 Out of Every 10 Voters in 2020 Presidential Election was Latinx — a New Record in Representation

Thanks to extraordinary registration efforts and incredibly high turnout among younger and U.S.-born Hispanics, a new study conducted at the City University of New York has found that voting rates for Latinx men and women reached a new record high during the 2020 U.S. Presidential election. Suzanne Gamboa of NBC…

Mastercard building

Mastercard Commits $25 Million+ To Ensure Equitable Access to Vaccines Across the Globe, Partnering With Global Citizens VAX LIVE Campaign

Originally published at mastercard.com. Mastercard ranked No. 5 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.   COVID-19 has taken its toll in every region, every country and every community. The accessibility of vaccines and therapeutics are not ubiquitous across the globe, leaving vulnerable populations disadvantaged. Mastercard…

Marriott International building

Marriott International Named to DiversityInc Hall of Fame — The First and Only Hospitality Company To Achieve This Distinction

Originally published at news.marriott.com. Marriott International is a DiversityInc Hall of Fame company.   After leading the DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2020, Marriott International, Inc. was named to the DiversityInc Hall of Fame, as the first hospitality company joining previously number one ranked companies. DiversityInc announced this recognition on May…

Capital One: ‘Freedom To Be You’

Originally published at capitalonecareers.com. Capital One Financial ranked No. 28 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.   Cindy Viener joined Capital One in 2009 and leads Product Management for several of its Card platforms, including Marketing, Rewards, Payments and Customer Resiliency. Viener has also served…

social media

GLAAD Declares Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter and YouTube ‘Effectively Unsafe’ for LGBTQ Users

In a first-of-its-kind report on “user experience” for the country’s leading social media platforms, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) has declared Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter and YouTube “effectively unsafe for LGBTQ users.” Cynthia Silva from NBC News reported that GLAAD’s inaugural “Social Media Safety Index” report originally…