Got social equity? “Public awareness of violence against the transgender community is increasing thanks to celebrities including Laverne Cox, who recently declared the issue a “state of emergency” and Caitlyn Jenner, as well as TV shows like Transparent and Sense8.
But awareness has yet to result in coherent legislation for the protection of transgender individuals. There are no protections on the federal level and the Trump administration is opposing legislation that would bar employers from discriminating against transgender workers.”
Florida police are searching for a motive in the death of a 23-year-old transgender African American woman whose body was found in a burned-out car last week.
The body of Bee Love Slater was found on 4 September in Clewiston, 50 miles west of West Palm Beach. Her remains were so badly burned it took investigators several days to identify her by dental records.
Investigators from the Hendry county sheriff’s office told a local TV station it was one of the most brutal killings the county had ever seen. No suspect or suspects had immediately been identified, they said.
Slater is believed to be the 18th transgender person killed in the US this year, according to the the Human Rights Campaign. The American Medical Association has described an “epidemic” of violence against transgender people.
Police said they would not classify Slater’s death as a hate crime until they could “clearly prove” the reason for the killing.
“We can’t say it’s a hate crime yet because we don’t know what the motive was,” Capt Susan Harrelle told ABC-7.
Initial reports said Slater was bound and shot but Harrelle told the Miami Herald “there’s no evidence” for such a conclusion, “since the vehicle was set on fire and the body burned beyond recognition”.
Slater’s friends speculated that she was killed because of her trans identity.
“I think she was targeted because of her lifestyle,” Desmond Vereen, who called himself Slater’s “gay mother”, told the Herald.
Antorris Williams remembered Slater as a “sweet girl” and told Out magazine someone had been threatening her on Facebook shortly before her death.
“She posted messages saying she felt as if people were after her to attack and hurt her and she had a conversation with one of her best friends the day she was murdered saying she wanted to leave [the city],” he said.
“She was willing to sleep in her car until she found a job and things of that nature.”
On Saturday, the Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke tweeted: “Transgender women of color have been targeted, attacked, and murdered across America. We know of 18 transgender people killed this year alone. If we don’t confront this reality then we can’t correct it. Justice must be served for Bee Love Slater. Equality must be secured for all.”
Gina Duncan, Equality Florida’s director of transgender equality, told the Miami Herald: “It’s frustrating, it’s heartbreaking that we continue to witness the absolute slaughter of transgender people.”
Slater’s death came shortly after 17-year-old Baily Reeves was shot dead in Baltimore.
In 2018, at least 26 transgender people were killed, the majority trans women of color. In 2017, 29 such deaths were recorded. Many such murders have been markedly brutal.
Tamara Dominguez of Kansas City, Missouri was struck by a car then run over multiple times. KC Haggard of Fresno, California was stabbed in the neck and left to collapse in the street. Kandis Capri of Phoenix, Arizona was shot.
Public awareness of violence against the transgender community is increasing thanks to celebrities including Laverne Cox, who recently declared the issue a “state of emergency” and Caitlyn Jenner, as well as TV shows like Transparent and Sense8.
But awareness has yet to result in coherent legislation for the protection of transgender individuals. There are no protections on the federal level and the Trump administration is opposing legislation that would bar employers from discriminating against transgender workers.
Florida’s hate-crime statute encompasses sexual orientation but does not include gender identity, excluding transgender people from protection, LGBTQ advocates say.
“Our society needs to work to ensure transpeople can live without fear,” the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida wrote on Facebook, in reaction to Slater’s death.