TDOR: ‘Everyone deserves to be mourned’

Services planned this weekend in Dallas and Fort Worth to remember, honor the more than 200 trans people murdered worldwide in the last year

Marcal-Tye

Marcal Camero Tye

Tammye Nash  |  Senior Editor
nash@dallasvoice.com

Marcal Camero Tye, 25, was a friendly, outgoing young woman who got along well with most people in the small town of Forrest City, Ark., where she lived — despite the fact that she was openly transgender in such a conservative atmosphere.

But sometime after leaving a party at a friend’s house on the evening of March 7, somebody murdered Marcal Tye.

Investigators say that Tye, whose body was found early in the morning of March 8 on a rural road outside Forrest City, was shot in the head and then run over by a car, her body apparently getting caught in the vehicle’s undercarriage and dragged for some distance.

St. Frances County Sheriff Bobby May has insisted that the killing was just “a regular murder” and not a hate crime. But those who knew Tye and LGBT activists who have been following the crime believe Tye was killed because she was transgender.

Marcal Tye is just one of the 22 trans people murdered over the last 12 months who will be remembered by name during Transgender Day of Remembrance services on Sunday at the Interfaith Peace Chapel in Dallas. And she is just one of 221 trans people murdered worldwide in the last year, according to the Trans Murder Monitoring Project.

Transgender Day of Remembrance began in November 1999 when trans activists and their allies gathered in San Francisco for a candlelight vigil to remember Rita Hester, a trans woman who had been stabbed to death a year earlier in her apartment in Allston, Mass., just outside of Boston.

Her murder has never been solved.

“There had been a candlelight vigil the year before in December, right after she was killed, there in Boston. But a year later, people felt the need to do something to bring attention to her murder and to the murders of other trans people,” explained Erin Roberts, one of the organizers of this year’s TDOR service.

“Just six weeks before Rita Hester was murdered, Matthew Shepard was murdered in Wyoming, and that made headlines around the world. Everybody was talking about his murder, talking about doing something about hate crimes. But when Rita Hester was killed, very few people paid any attention. It seemed like nobody really paid attention when a trans person was murdered,” Robert said.

“And it’s not that we have any problem with all the publicity around Matthew Shepard’s murder. It was a horrible thing, and it deserved that attention,” Roberts continued. “But there was just such a stark contrast in the way the two murders were treated, especially in the press. People wanted to do something to bring attention to the fact that trans people are murdered every day in horrible, brutal ways.”

Also on the list of those killed in the past 12 months are six trans women who were killed in a 60-day period in the Honduras, beginning last November. The most recent additions to the list of 22 are 19-year-old Shelley Hilliard, who was killed then decapitated, dismembered and burned on Oct. 23 in Detroit; and Jessica Rollon, 32, who was strangled to death in Bergamo, Italy on Oct. 30.

Roberts pointed out that when transgender people are killed, the murders are often characterized by extreme violence and “overkill.” They aren’t just shot, they are shot and beaten. They aren’t just stabbed, they are stabbed over and over and over.

“And as long as trans people continue to be dehumanized, it will continue to happen,” Roberts said. “We are real people, with real emotions. We feel love and pain and joy and sorrow, just like anyone else. But people don’t see us that way. They see us as ‘other,’ and something besides regular human beings.”

Roberts said this week that “one of the last things I did as a boy” was to attend TDOR services last year in Dallas. And after transitioning earlier this year, she said, she got involved in helping organize this year’s service. And she will do it again next year, too.

“As long as we continue to be killed and brutalized, we will continue to have Transgender Day of Remembrance events,” Roberts said. “Because everyone deserves to be mourned.”

TDOR services in Dallas will be held Sunday, Nov. 20, beginning at 6:30 p.m. at the Interfaith Peace Chapel at Cathedral of Hope, 5910 Cedar Springs Road. The evening will include a performance by the singing group Mosaic and speeches by Rafael McDonnell with Resource Center Dallas, Roberts, Oliver Blumer and Rosemarie Odom.

The names of the 20 victims will be read aloud, and flowers will be placed on the podium in memory of each one. There will also be a candlelight vigil.
Blumer and Nell Gaither were co-organizers of the event with Roberts.

Fort Worth TDOR

Agape Metropolitan Community Church of Fort Worth and Trinity Metropolitan Community Church of Arlington are joining forces to hold an interfaith gathering for TDOR on Saturday, Nov. 19, at 6 p.m. at Agape MCC, 4615 E. California Parkway in southeast Fort Worth.

The Rev.  Stephen V. Sprinkle from Brite Divinity School at Texas Christian University will speak on the topic “Unfinished Lessons,” explaining “five lessons that LGBTQ hate crimes murder victims have to teach us, if we will only learn them.”

Tori Van Fleet, a forensics expert with the Fort Worth Police Department who came out as a trans women when she joined the fight to get the city of Fort Worth to add protections for trans people to its nondiscrimination ordinance, will also speak during the service.

Van Fleet said this week, “I am looking forward to the day when the TDOR bells are silent due to there not being any more violence against my transgender brothers and sisters. Until then, we will continue to bring attention to the violence we face due to bigotry, hate, fear and even misinformation, simply for being ourselves and trying to live our lives as best we can.”

Several Brite Divinity student clergy have also been active in planning and will participate in the service through music, media and readings.

………………………

REMEMBERING THE VICTIMS

The 20 trans people who will be remembered by name during Transgender Day of Remembrance services Sunday in Dallas are:

Idania Roberta Sevilla Raudales, 58, Comayagüela City, Honduras; died Nov. 29, 2010; had her throat slit.

Luisa Alvarado Hernández, 23,Comayagüela City, Honduras; died Dec. 22, 2010; was stoned, beaten and burned.

• Lady Óscar Martínez Salgado, 43, Tegucigalpa, Honduras; died Dec. 22, 2010; was burned and stabbed.

• Reana ‘Cheo’ Bustamente, age unknown, Tegucigalpa, Honduras; died Dec. Jan. 2, 2011; was stabbed multiple times in the chest.

• Génesis Briget Makaligton, mid-20s, Comayagüela City, Honduras; died Jan. 7, 2011; was strangled to death.

• Krissy Bates, 45, Minneapolis, Minn.; died Jan. 10, 2011; was stabbed multiple times.

• Fergie Alice Ferg, age unknown, San Pedro Sula, Honduras; died Jan. 18, 2011; was shot multiple times in the head and chest.

• Tyra Trent, 25, Baltimore, Md.; died Feb. 19, 2011; was strangled to death.

• Priscila Brandão, 22, Belo Horizonte, Brazil; died March 2, 2011; was shot in the head.

• Marcal Camero Tye, 25, Forrest City, Ark.; died March 8, 2011; was shot in the head, run over and dragged by a car.

• Shakira Harahap, 28, Taman Lawang, Jakarta, Indonesia; died March 10, 2011; was shot to death.

• Miss Nate Nate (or Née) Eugene Davis, 44, Houston; died June 13, 2011; was shot to death., Washington, D.C.; died July 20, 2011; was shot to death.

• Didem, 26, Findikzade, Istanbul; died July 31, 2011; had her throat slit.

• Camila Guzman, 38, New York City; died Aug. 1, 2011; was stabbed repeatedly in the back and neck.

• Gaby, age unknown, Jalisco, Mexico; died Aug. 6, 2011; was beaten and burned.

• Unidentified male dressed in women’s clothes, estimated age 30; Paris, France; was stabbed to death.

• Gaurav Gopalan, 35, Washington, D.C.; died Sept. 10, 2011; suffered subarachnoid hemorrhage due to blunt-force head trauma.

• Ramazan Çetin, 24, Gaziantep, Turkey; died Oct. 6, 2011; was shot to death by her brother who claimed to be defending the family’s honor.

• Shelley Hilliard, 19, Detroit, Mich.; died Oct.23 but body was not identified until Nov. 10; was killed, decapitated, dismembered and burned.

• Jessica Rollon, 32, Bergamo, Italy; died Oct. 30, 2011; was strangled to death.

• Astrid Carolina López Cruz, 30, Madrid, Spain; died Nov. 4, 2011; was beaten and stabbed.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 18, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

FBI now involved in Tye murder investigation

The FBI is now involved in investigating the murder of Marcal Camero Tye, a 25-year-old trans woman found dead near a rural highway outside Forrest Hill, Ark., early Tuesday, March 8, according to reports posted today on AOL News.

Marcal Camero Tye

Special Agent Steve Frazier with the FBI Office in Little Rock told AOL News that the FBI is trying to determine if Tye’s civil rights were violated and would be working to determine if the murder was a hate crime.

Frazier said, “”Part of the civil rights statutes does include hate crimes, and we will be looking at that as a possibility, but right now it is open as a federal civil rights investigation.”

Investigators have said that Tye was shot in the head and her body then dragged down the road either behind or underneath a vehicle. Evidence that the body had been dragged caused activists with the Little Rock LGBT rights group Center for Artistic Revolution to believe the murder was an anti-trans hate crime.

However, Bobby May, sheriff of St. Francis County where Tye was killed, said the dragging appears not to have been intentional.

“Apparently after shooting the individual — we feel like the victim was shot in front of the vehicle — the suspect, whoever it may be, thought they might straddle the body, and in the process of taking off, the body got hung up under the vehicle,” May said. He also said there was evidence the driver had stopped and backed up in an attempt to disloge Tye’s body.

However, Frazier said, if the murder is determined to have been a hate crime, the fact that Arkansas has no state hate crimes law will not be a deterrent.

“Federal law is totally independent of any state law. The state has jurisdiction for homicide investigations, which are a state offense, but we have jurisdiction henever a killing may involve a person’s civil rights. We have federal jurisdiction totally unrelated to the state charge,” Frazier said.

May said investigators do not yet have a suspect in the case. However they did make plaster casts of tire tracks at the site and have found two .32-caliber shell casings at the scene. Tye was shot by a 32.caliber weapon.

Forrest City is located in the northeast portion of Arkansas, about halfway between Little Rock and Memphis, Tenn., on Interstate 40. Memphis Flyer, an alternative newspaper in Memphis, reported Wednesday that Tye’s death is the latest in a series of murders of transgender women in the Memphis area in recent years. Other victims include Duanna Johnson, a trans woman who was shot to death in Memphis in November 2008, just months after she accused two Memphis Police officers of making derogatory remarks about her sexuality and then beating her after arresting her on a prostitution charge in June that same year. The beating was captured on videotape.

Other trans women who have been murdered are Tiffany Berry and Ebony Whitaker.

—  admin

Update on murder of Arkansas trans woman

St. Francis County Sheriff Bobby May has said that while his department is waiting on lab reports to determine actual cause of death, trans woman Marcal Camero Tye — found dead early Tuesday near a rural highway outside of Forrest City, Ark. — appeared to have been shot in the head and then dragged by a car, according to WREG tv station out of Memphis.

WREG said Tye was 25, while other news outlets have said she was 24.

May also said he had reports that people nearby the scene had heard two gunshots in the area. Investigators have made plaster impressions of tire tracks at the scene that they hope will help them identify suspects in the murder.

Jennifer Bohannon, identified by WREG as a friend of Tye’s, said she had seen the victim just hours the shooting at her cousin’s house, and that Tye left there saying she was going home. Bohannon said Tye did not try to hide the fact that she was transgender, and Bohannon suggested Tye had been picked up by someone high on drugs and looking for sex, “And when they brought him down here they probably figured out, you know, noticed that he was a “dude” and probably took it from there and shot him and killed him.”

The first reports by WREG identified Tye as “a man wearing women’s clothes,” and used male pronouns to refer to her. However, after complaints by commenters online who suggested the station contact the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation for guidelines on reporting on transgender people, the station’s  latest reports identify Tye as transgender, saying she was “born male, but lived as a woman.”

Even though WREG changed its language, other news outlets in Arkansas have not. The Daily World out of Helena, Ark., which identified Tye as a former Helena-West Helena resident, reposted WREG’s original story including the “man in a dress” language. KTHV in Little Rock identified Tye as a “transgender man” and used male pronouns in its online story. And The Republic in Columbus, Ind., posted a story online calling Tye “a man dressed in women’s clothing.”

 

—  admin

Dallas police seek info in gay man’s murder

Moments ago the Dallas Police Department sent out the below alert seeking information in the murder of Aaron Cheung, a 27-year-old gay man who was found fatally shot in northeast Dallas on Sunday morning.

According to the alert, an unknown suspect wearing a black hoodie and black pants was seen running from the scene of Cheung’s murder.

Sr. Cpl. Kevin Janse, a spokesman for DPD, confirmed Monday afternoon that investigators don’t believe the incident was a hate crime.

“Nothing leads the detectives to believe his sexual orientation played a role in this offense,” Janse said. “Robbery is believed to be the motive. No suspect or witnesses at this time.”

Anyone with information is asked to call homicide at 214-671-3661 or 214-671-3618.

—  John Wright

DPD investigator denies rumors that arrests are ‘imminent’ in gay Dallas woman’s disappearance

Lisa Stone
Lisa Stone

On Tuesday afternoon we reported that Lisa Stone’s friends believe arrests may be “imminent” in the six-month-old disappearance of the 52-year-old gay Dallas woman.

But Sgt. Eugene Reyes of the Dallas Police Department’s Special Investigations Unit told Instant Tea this morning that those rumors are simply untrue.

“I have no idea who we would be arresting and what we would be arresting them for,” Reyes said. “You blindsided me.”

Reyes said he had no new information about DPD’s investigation into Stone’s disappearance. He’s said previously that investigators believe foul play is “very likely.”

Reyes acknowledged that DPD recently contacted America’s Most Wanted, which posted a story about Stone’s disappearance on its website last week. Asked whether this indicates that authorities are desperate, Reyes said: “We’ve been desperate since day one. As soon as [Stone's longtime partner] Sherry [Henry] quit talking, what else is there? We have nothing to go on. It’s another way to generate publicity, keep it out there.”

Reyes added that the America’s Most Wanted story hasn’t generated any tips in the week since it was posted. He said investigators continue to believe that even if Henry wasn’t somehow involved in Stone’s disappearance, she knows something about it.

“Either Sherry is not telling anyone or if she did they’re not sharing that information,” Reyes said.

—  John Wright

The search continues

Police acknowledge foul play likely in disappearance of Lisa Stone; friends fighting to keep investigation alive

WATCH VIDEO OF LISA STONE’S FRIENDS TALKING ABOUT THE CASE

John Wright  |  Online Editor wright@dallasvoice.com

GARLAND — Dallas police for the first time this week publicly acknowledged that they believe foul play is likely in the disappearance of Lisa Stone, a 52-year-old lesbian who’s been missing for more than three months.

However, Sgt. Eugene Reyes of DPD’s special investigations unit said detectives won’t formally reclassify the case as a homicide until Stone’s remains are found, and he stopped short of identifying her longtime partner, Sherry Henry, as a suspect.

“Every time there’s a body found, we’re hoping it’s Lisa,” Reyes told Dallas Voice in an exclusive interview on Tuesday, Sept. 14. “Not that we’re hoping she’s dead, but at least that will bring closure and get us closer to a suspect. It’s not like her to be out of touch this long. I think foul play is very likely, yes, because it’s out of her characteristics.”

Stone’s friends, who’ve long said they suspect foul play in her June disappearance, expressed frustration with DPD’s handling of the case and said they recently hired a private investigator. But Reyes insisted that investigators have tracked down every lead, including sending 70 officers to search a wooded area of Hunt County in July. Police also searched the home Stone shared with Henry and are awaiting results from forensic tests, Reyes said.

“I am just as frustrated as they are, but we’re bound by the Constitution, and there’s only certain things you can do without violating that, and if we violate them then what good is it if we go to court and everything gets thrown out?” Reyes said. “Whoever did this told someone. All we need is that someone to step up.”

Stone’s friends, many of whom have known her since they attended Mesquite High School together in the 1970s, have held several vigils outside her home on Truxillo Drive in Northeast Dallas. Their Facebook page, “Looking for Lisa Stone… help us find her!,” has almost 2,000 fans. They’ve also set up another website, www.ForTheLoveofLisa.webs.com, and rented a billboard in Garland.

Standing beneath the billboard at LBJ Freeway and Northwest Highway this week, two of Stone’s friends said that while they may be growing increasingly desperate, they’re not about to give up until they obtain both closure and justice.

“It’s very frustrating at this point to have brought all this evidence to the police, and now feel like we don’t know what’s going on,” said Lyndi Robinson, one of Stone’s gay friends. “That’s probably the most frustrating part of the whole thing, is we feel like nothing’s happening, so we’re to the point where we want to scream. I don’t know what we need to do. We need to raise a ruckus, because we want to know the answers.”

Tina Wiley, one of Stone’s straight friends, noted that a $10,000 reward is being offered through Crime Stoppers, and that another vigil is planned for Sunday evening, Sept. 19 at the site of the billboard.

“I know without a doubt she’d be doing the same thing for me, and I basically have no choice,” Wiley said. “I cannot go to sleep at night if I don’t feel like I’ve done everything I can, and I don’t feel like I will ever rest until I feel like I’ve done everything I can.”

Henry, Stone’s partner, isn’t cooperating with police or communicating with her friends. According to both Reyes and Stone’s friends, Henry has left the state and may be staying with relatives in Missouri.

Shortly after her disappearance, one of Stone’s friends witnessed Henry discarding some of Stone’s personal items in a Dumpster, including her birth certificate and the last effects of her late gay brother, Dennis. Henry has also filed a stalking complaint against Stone’s friends and threatened to sue them for harassment, they said.

Stone’s friends questioned why given that they were together for 17 years, Henry isn’t actively assisting in the search for Stone.

Police questioned Henry when they searched the home in July but released her later the same day. Henry couldn’t be reached for comment.

Robinson, who was close friends with Stone’s brother Dennis who died from AIDS in 1997, said she promised him before he passed away that she would look out for Lisa.

“Any one of us, especially in the gay community, could be the last of their family, and your friends are your family, and we’re here to say we’re not going away until we find you, Lisa, and we bring you home,” Robinson said.

Anyone with information about Stone’s disappearance should call Crime Stoppers at 877-373-8477.  Sunday’s vigil will be at 7 p.m. at the site of the billboard, 2010 Eastgate Drive in Garland. For more info, e-mail fortheloveoflisa@aol.com.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 17, 2010.

—  Michael Stephens