The lesbian and gay community continues to make great strides toward equality here in this country. Yet our transgender brothers and sisters are being left behind. And nowhere is this inequity more appallingly obvious than in the horrifying number of trans people who fall victim to anti-trans violence every day.
Seven trans women that we know of have been murdered since the beginning of this year. Actually, these murders have all occurred in a more narrow time frame: seven murders in 29 days.
That’s just the murders that have made headlines. There may have been others than we haven’t heard about, and there have undoubtedly been innumerable instances of discrimination and of violence resulting in injuries that have gotten little if any attention from the rest of the world.
There is no simple answer, no quick fix. We have to work at it, all of us together. And we as lesbians and gays must start that process by confronting our own transphobia, confronting transphobia in the world around us and insisting that all the legal protections and benefits we are winning include protections and benefits for transgender people, too.
And we can begin by pledging to remember those we have lost, honoring their memory. With that in mind, here are the names, the photos and the stories of the seven transgender women who have been murdered since 2015 began:
• Lamia Beard, 30, was murdered Jan. 17, in Norfolk, Va. She was shot to death on a city street around 4 a.m. No one has yet been arrested in her death. Norfolk police were reported to be investigating the possibility that her death was linked to the non-fatal shooting of a man nearby about 6:30 a.m. that same day.
• Ty Underwood, 24, shot to death Jan. 26, in Tyler, Texas. Her alleged boyfriend, Carlton Ray Champion Jr., 21, has been arrested and charged with her murder.
• Yazmin Vash Payne, 33, was stabbed to death Jan. 31 in her apartment in Los Angeles, which was then set on fire. Her boyfriend, 25-year-old Ezekiel Dear, turned himself in to police the next day.
• Taja Gabrielle DeJesus, 33. was stabbed to death in a stairway in San Francisco on Feb. 1. The suspect in her death, James Hayes, 49, was found hanged to death about half a mile away. Police believe he killed himself.
• Penny Proud, 21, was shot to death Feb. 10 during an apparent robbery on a New Orleans street. Her killer remains at large.
• Bri Golec, 22, was stabbed to death her in Akron, Ohio home on Feb. 14, by her own father, 52-year-old Kevin Golec. Golec called 9-11 after stabbing his daughter, referring to her as his son Brian and claiming she had been killed by members of a cult who had broken into the home.
• Kristina Gomez Reinwald, 46, was murdered Feb. 15 in her West Miami home. Police, at last report, were looking for her boyfriend in connection with her death.