Remembering the victims of trans violence

Allyson Robinson

Keynote speaker Allyson Robinson

No one knows how many transgender people are assaulted and killed. Not all the violence is reported. Brazilian authorities, for example, reported 28 deaths last year, but no one is certain of the actual number.

This year, 238 transgender people have been reported killed worldwide. Since 2008, Transgender Europe has documented 1,374 murders of trans people in 60 countries worldwide. Of these, 108 victims have been under the age of 20.

Those victims were remembered Sunday during a service at Cathedral of Hope. Nov. 20, which is Transgender Day of Remembrance, was set aside to remember Rita Hester who was murdered in 1998, five days after Matthew Shepard was murdered.

Keynote speaker Allyson Robinson said Cathedral of Hope is special to her, even though she had never set foot in it before the services.

“I’ve never been here before,” she said, “but it means hope to people around the world.”

Robinson said that while ceremonies commemorating Transgender Day of Remembrance are approached differently, taking place in venues that range from bars and businesses to churches and other public facilities, what they have in common is the reading of the names of those people who were killed for living their authentic lives.

Audrey Brown, a 20-year-old transgender student, echoed that theme.

“For other people to stop you from being who you are is tragic.” she said.

Blair High, who runs the Gender Education, Advocacy and Resources Program at Resource Center, talked about how far the Dallas trans community has come, but there is a desperate need for expanded services.

High is available at Resource Center on Wednesday nights, and she said people often come in who have recently lost their jobs, their families or their homes, and they’re thinking about suicide.

GEAR is awarding legal and health scholarships to people who are transitioning, and High said anyone who is interested can call her about the application process. Scholarship recipients are required to do some volunteer work with the organization.

Cd Kirven, a community activist, encouraged those attending the service to remember the victims by working to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.

“Go to your representative,” she said. “Tell them, “My family matters’, and tell them your story.”

Kirven said many people, including legislators, don’t think transgender people have value and aren’t concerned with those equality issues. In Denton County, Artegus Madden, a transgender woman, was found murdered in her home Sept. 1, but Carmarion Anderson, a minister, said officials aren’t investigating the murder.

There’s no update,” she said. “Nothing’s being done.

Sunday’s program included a video that showed the victims’ names, and one rose for each person killed was placed on an altar. The video is shown below.

Metropolitan Community Church has a video for TDOR, titled Pioneering Voices: Portraits of Transgender People. Through first-person accounts and positive images, the exhibit challenges damaging myths and stereotypes about transgender people.

MCC of Greater Dallas is at 1840 Hutton Drive No. 100, Carrollton. The exhibit runs through Dec. 8, Sundays 8:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. and Tuesdays 5:30 p.m.–7:30 p.m.

—  David Taffet

Memorial will be Saturday for Carrollton murder victim Shaun Walsh

Shaun Walsh, left, and Nathanael Gehrer

The funeral service for Dustin Reeb, 22, known locally as Shaun Walsh, was held in Enid, Okla., on Dec. 15, according to Brown-Cummings Funeral Home.

Reeb was murdered on Nov. 30 after a brutal attack in his home in Carrollton. His friend, Nathanael Gehrer was arrested for the murder. Gehrer was arrested on Dec. 4 and is being held in Denton County jail on $1 million bond. The pending charge is capital murder, which could result in the death penalty.

A memorial service will be at 11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 22, at Metropolitan Community Church of Greater Dallas, 1840 Hutton Dr #100, Carrollton.

As a memorial, MCC, where Reeb was a member, is still collecting money for a crime scene cleanup fund to help his housemate, Tony Adams.

The Rev. Colleen Darraugh, who described the attack as brutal at the time, said everything from carpet and furniture to clothing needs to be cleaned or replaced.

Reeb’s family in Enid requested memorials be made in his name to the United Methodist Church of Waukomis and the crime victims compensation program with Brown-Cummings serving as custodians of the fund. Condolences may be made to the family on the funeral home’s website.

—  David Taffet

Police have yet to identify gay man found brutally murdered in Carrollton

View Larger Map

Police are not releasing the identity of a 22-year-old gay man found murdered in his home in Carrollton on Friday.

Officer Jon Stovall confirmed the death is under investigation as murder. Stovall said Monday morning he didn’t know whether the victim had been positively identified or, if so, whether the family had been notified.

The victim’s body was discovered by his housemate, Tony Adams, at the residence they shared in the 2100 block of Placid Drive. Adams is active in Dallas theater and did sound and lighting for the Metropolitan Community Church of Greater Dallas, a predominantly gay congregation. Adams discovered the body when he came home from work.

Part of the confusion about the victim’s identity may be related to the fact that he acted under a stage name that he sometimes went by off stage as well.

Both Adams and the victim attended MCC of Greater Dallas. The Rev. Colleen Darraugh, pastor of MCC of Greater Dallas, said there was blood everywhere in the house.

“Evidently it was a brutal beating,” Darraugh said, adding that she thinks knives may have been involved.

In an email to her congregation Darraugh identified the victim only as “Shawn” and requested help “to assist Tony [Adams] with the expenses associated with the crime scene clean-up and replacement of clothing and home furnishings that were damaged or destroyed.”

Read the full email below.

—  David Taffet