[Trigger Warnings: murder, mentions of transphobia and misgendering]
Those are the names of the five transgender women murdered in June.
Kandy Hall, 40 (Baltimore, Maryland), Zoraida Reyes, 28 (Anaheim, California), Yaz’min Shancez, 31 (Fort Myers, Florida), Tiffany Edwards, 28 (Cincinnati, Ohio), Mia Henderson, 26 (Baltimore, Maryland).
(I haven’t found an official confirmation that Zoraida was murdered, but from where her body was found that appears to be the case, and it has been stated that police are investigating her death as suspicious.)
I don’t feel that I’m the person to discuss these murders in any depth, but if mentioning them helps get more people thinking about them, then I think I should. Also, it might be helpful for some people to have a few links in one place to get started on catching up on all these deaths.
With that in mind, I’m mostly linking to TransGriot, which tends to be a good place for issues affection trans women, POC, WOC, and any combination of the above. Given that at least four of the murdered women were POC, that makes TransGriot my go-to blog for info (it’s also, unfortunately, the only blog by a trans WOC that I’ve found and liked enough to follow so far, but I’m still looking for more). I haven’t been able to find any images of Kandy Hall, or any mention of her race, but given the statistics it isn’t unlikely for all five women to have been POC – trans WOC are the most at risk for violence and murder in the LGBTQIA community from all statistic I’ve seen.
So, some articles giving a little more info on the June rash of murders:
- “Fourth Trans Woman of Color Murdered in June” by Parker Marie Molloy at The Advocate. This article mentions other trans women murdered/found dead earlier in June, as well as other murders of trans women, and the media’s (poor) handling of reporting them.
- “Tiffany Edwards Case Update” by Monica Roberts at TransGriot. Tiffany’s killer turned himself in, and was indicted on multiple charges, including aggravated murder. As of the writing of that article – July 11 – he was in jail under a half-million dollar bond.
- “200 People Attend Yaz’min Shancez Vigil” by Monica Roberts at TransGriot.
- “Fear and violence in transgender Baltimore: ‘It’s scary trusting anyone’” by Ed Pilkington at The Guardian. This article focuses on interviews with trans women in Baltimore, where Kandy and Mia were murdered.
These are just a few of what I was able to find, and they link to more related articles. I was surprised how hard it was to find good coverage that treated the victims in a respectful way and didn’t misgender them – and yet also not very surprised.
There was also another trans woman murdered in April in Baltimore – Kelly Young, 29 – who I wasn’t aware of before looking into this more closely. So either that’s just a coincidence/fluke, or Baltimore has some particularly bad transphobia and transmisogyny going on, or – with the similarities between Kandy and Mia’s murders – they may have some kind of serial killer targeting trans women.
I hope these investigations are treated with respect and taken seriously by police – and not only in a PR sense, because it’s all well and good to make statements that you’re going to try to catch the murderer, but it means nothing unless you follow through.
Note: My calling victims by their first names isn’t meant to be disrespectful, but it occurs to me that some people may find it that way – if anyone does, they I’ll change it if they let me know. I’ve developed a habit of remembering and using victim’s names, but not those of the perpetrator, and I’ve always found referring to someone by their surname as distancing. So, to me, calling the people at the centre of these issues by their first names is humanising them and showing warm feelings towards them.