Remember Donald Trump’s business ally Felix Sater who had some really shady connections to Russian oligarchs and a money laundering scheme to build a Trump hotel in Moscow. The tower was never built and questions about $440 million went unanswered. Sater was convicted of first degree assault in 1991 for slashing a commodities broker across …
Nov 19 2014
Live fast, die young and leave a good-looking corpse!
–John Derek, Knock on Any Door (1949)
The quote is often erroneously attributed to James Dean.
Some of the murder victims whose stories are told after the break may have tried to live with that philosophy, but the violence visited upon them almost assuredly negated the last part. Being set on fire, run over by a car, shot in the face, or stoned to death usually preclude a “good looking corpse.”
A few comments of note: In Brazil, where most of the murders took place, those who would probably be regarded as transgender women here are referred to as travesti (transvestites) and so male pronouns are most often used. I tried to correct that as much as possible. It is also the case that the Police in Brazil are whole-heartedly in favor of blaming the victim, so revenge, drug involvement, “working the program” (prostituting), revenge, or “reckoning” are almost always given as the suspected motives. Gay men in drag, on the other hand, are usually thought to be victims of homophobia. Finally, an autopsy of a transgender woman in Brazil is usually called a necropsy…a word which we reserve for non-sentient animals.
All of those comments may shed light on why there are so many murders in Brazil (77 out of the 118). The United States is second, with 10, (but we try harder…I’m sure we can catch up). Mexico is third with 9.
Oct 18 2014
Closed Circuit TV cameras show PFC Joseph Scott Pemberton, 19, and three other Marines were drunk when they entered a Ambyanz Disco in Olongapo City around 11pm on Saturday, October 11. They show Pemberton leaving the bar a few minutes later with Jennifer Laude and three friends. Pemberton is seen holding hands with Jennifer’s friend Barbie as they left Ambyanz for Celzone Lodge.
At around 11:35 Pemberton’s buddies were seen returning to the bar, looking for him. They asked the bar employees if they might know where he was. They had midnight curfew and had to get back to the ship.
One witness identified Pemberton from a photo line-up by Philippine National Police. That witness also identified the 26-year-old Barbie as a witness of interest. Both witnesses have asked for government protection. Barbie also identified Pemberton.
Barbie has told investigators that she was sent away by Jennifer, who sensed there might be danger because they were transgender, so she and another friend went to another room in the lodge. Barbie said that a room attendant (Elias Gallamos) knocked on their door around 11:45 to tell them that Pemberton had left, leaving the door ajar and Jennifer “passed out” in the bathroom of her room.
Jennifer was, in fact, dead. She had been strangled and drowned in the toilet. Autopsy listed the cause of death as asphyxiation by drowning.
Oct 04 2014
Some people refer to it as Thursday morning. To others it was Wednesday night. At 2:30 am in East Hollywood..a transgender woman was shot one time…in the head.
During the robbery, there was a struggle, and there were shots fired, and the victim was struck one time. It appears they were struck in the head.
–LAPD Lt. Joe Losorelli
It’s really, really frightening for all of us, especially out here in the streets and stuff because discrimination is still very high in our community,
–Karina Samala of the Transgender Advisory Board of West Hollywood
Jan 04 2014
There has been plenty of fascination with the new pope’s statement, “Who am I to judge?” when asked about his views of gay and lesbian people.
But there has been no change in church doctrine. As Parker Marie Molloy pointed out in a recent Op-ed, the pope has touted a change in tone while the content underneath the tone remains virtually unchanged.
Molloy points to the fact that the tone correction has not extended to the church’s views on transgender people, as enunciated in his 2012 Christmas homily by Pope Benny:
[Bernheim] quotes the famous saying of Simone de Beauvoir: ‘one is not born a woman, one becomes so’ (on ne naît pas femme, on le devient). These words lay the foundation for what is put forward today under the term ‘gender’ as a new philosophy of sexuality. According to this philosophy, sex is no longer a given element of nature, that man has to accept and personally make sense of: it is a social role that we choose for ourselves, while in the past it was chosen for us by society. The profound falsehood of this theory and of the anthropological revolution contained within it is obvious. People dispute the idea that they have a nature, given by their bodily identity, that serves as a defining element of the human being. They deny their nature and decide that it is not something previously given to them, but that they make it for themselves. According to the biblical creation account, being created by God as male and female pertains to the essence of the human creature. This duality is an essential aspect of what being human is all about, as ordained by God. This very duality as something previously given is what is now disputed. The words of the creation account: ‘male and female he created them’ (Gen 1:27) no longer apply. No, what applies now is this: it was not God who created them male and female – hitherto society did this, now we decide for ourselves. Man and woman as created realities, as the nature of the human being, no longer exist. Man calls his nature into question. From now on he is merely spirit and will. The manipulation of nature, which we deplore today where our environment is concerned, now becomes man’s fundamental choice where he himself is concerned. From now on there is only the abstract human being, who chooses for himself what his nature is to be. Man and woman in their created state as complementary versions of what it means to be human are disputed. But if there is no pre-ordained duality of man and woman in creation, then neither is the family any longer a reality established by creation. Likewise, the child has lost the place he had occupied hitherto and the dignity pertaining to him. Bernheim shows that now, perforce, from being a subject of rights, the child has become an object to which people have a right and which they have a right to obtain. When the freedom to be creative becomes the freedom to create oneself, then necessarily the Maker himself is denied and ultimately man too is stripped of his dignity as a creature of God, as the image of God at the core of his being. The defense of the family is about man himself. And it becomes clear that when God is denied, human dignity also disappears. Whoever defends God is defending man.
Molloy admits that it is not fair to hold Francis accountable to the statements of Benedict but he says we should not forget that those words stand as the most recent papal remarks about transgender people and they are the most mean-spirited remarks ever tossed our way as a subset of society.
Can anyone who reads Benny’s statement not understand how much a transperson reading it would feel less then human and deserving of all the hate directed towards us?
Nov 23 2013
The Transgender Day of Remembrance was set aside to memorialize those who were killed due to anti-transgender hatred or prejudice. The event is held in November to honor Rita Hester, whose murder on November 28th, 1998 kicked off the “Remembering Our Dead” web project and a San Francisco candlelight vigil in 1999. Rita Hester’s murder – like most anti-transgender murder cases – has yet to be solved.
–Gwendolyn Ann Smith, founder
Normally TDoR is observed on November 20, but I am a worker.
The list is lengthy, as it seems to be every year. And this list is incomplete. I’d estimate that it represents about a quarter of those gender-variant people who were killed for being differently gendered since last November. Transgender Europe will release a more complete number, for the calendar year of 2013, in the future.
We shall strive not to forget.
Sep 21 2013
On the afternoon of September 9 Leticia Alvarado, cashier at a motel in the 13900 block of Francisquito Avenue in Baldwin Park CA, discovered the body of her friend Melony Smith in her motel room.
Alvarado says that Smith had been staying in the motel on and off for three years.
We became very close. She called me sister. I was her sister.
Before I go to work, I always stop by her room and we have breakfast. That day she wouldn’t answer her phone.
So Alvarado went to the room and had the maid open the door and found Smith’s body lying on the floor.
She was all bruised up. She had blood on her head. She was lifeless. I could tell she was dead.
Aug 31 2013
The vigil for Islan Nettles, who died last week after being beaten into a coma and being declared brain dead, drew a crowd of hundreds to Jackie Robinson Park in Harlem. Nettles was a 21-year-old transwoman who was pursuing a career in fashion.
On August 17 Islan was walking with a transwoman friend when they encountered a group of men outside a Harlem police precinct station. One of the men, Paris Wilson, 20, had recently friended Islan on Facebook. Wilson reportedly began flirting with Nettles, until one of his friends yelled that she had been born a man. The friends began teasing Wilson until he attacked her. As he was beating her, the “friends” shouted anti-trans and anti-gay epithets. He continued to pound on her face after her head had been driven into the sidewalk. Wilson was arrested after police finally arrived. He was charged with misdemeanor assault and released on $2,000 bail.
Aug 03 2013
Having not yet recovered from the murder of Diamond Williams, Philadelphia's trans community was rocked again on Tuesday night. A 26 year-old transwoman is reported to be in critical but stable condition at Hahnemann University Hospital after being pistol whipped and shot in the back of the head in her apartment in Northern Liberties. She is expected to survive.
The victim was found at the front door to the apartment building, having crawled there from her third floor apartment. She was able to communicate with police when they arrived after being called by neighbors. She reported that she was waiting for a family member when she heard a knock on the door. She opened it to discover a man with a gun who she did not know.
There is video here. That’s the CBS coverage, which describes the victim as a woman. Early ABC coverage described the victim as a “man dressed like a woman.” I saw video yesterday that identified the victim and had some interviews with family members, but it appears today to have been scrubbed from the internet.
Jul 27 2013
Diamond Williams is described as someone who had a big personality and even bigger heart.
She was so full of life. She was funny and we used to laugh. And I remember just acting silly with her and I just miss her because we had a lot of great times.
She was a very loving, caring, and creative person. We were family. We were like sisters and she loved her sisters. No one should ever have to die the way she died.
Williams, 31, was killed last week after having sexual relations with Charles Sargent, 43. Sargent allegedly dismembered her in his apartment and then dumped her body parts in a field in North Philadelphia.
I don’t care if he knew or he didn’t know. Nobody deserves to die like that. That’s someone’s life that (you) just brutally murdered and dismembered and threw her parts in a field.
May 04 2013
This really gets old. On April 17 the decomposing body of transwoman Cemia Dove, 20, was found in a pond in Olmsted Township, near Cleveland. This is the third African American transwoman found murdered since the beginning of April.
The body was found tied to a concrete block and a steel pipe. It was also naked from the waist down. She had been stabbed to death.
As is typical, but nonetheless contrary to AP Stylesheet guidelines, Cemia was identified by her birth name in early reports and continually misgendered. Additionally, an old mug shot was attached to the newspaper stories and her past misdemeanor arrests became the story in some circles…rather than the fact that she was murdered.
Nov 21 2012
It was the autumn of 1998, late November. The previous month Matthew Shepard was found, barely alive and in a coma, having been tortured and tied to a fence near Laramie, Wyoming. The person who found the body thought at first it was a scarecrow.
Hester had just returned from entertainment engagements in Europe. She was a statuesque (over 6 feet tall and around 225 pounds) drag performer. She is said to have had an overwhelming stage presence. She was also reported to be very kind and well-liked by everyone in the community.
She was always nice to everyone. She was very, very, very liked by the whole community, so what happened to her was like a real shock.
Around 6:15pm on November 28 Rita Hester’s neighbors heard loud banging coming from inside her Allston, MA apartment. One neighbor later reported that someone inside had yelled for help. Police were called and arrived around 6:30pm. They found Rita’s lifeless body in the apartment. It had multiple stab wounds.