Transgender Woman Murdered in Detroit


DETROIT - According to an Equality Michigan press release, a murder victim found last Friday, Nov. 8, discarded in a trash receptacle off Woodward Ave. in Detroit has not yet been identified, but is believed to be a member of the transgender community.

"We are saddened and angry to hear of the murder of another transgender woman of color who has yet to be identified," said Yvonne Siferd, director of victim services for Equality Michigan. "The undignified way in which her body was dumped speaks to the larger issue of anti-transgender hostility in our society, and the vast amount of work we, as supporters of the LGBT communities, have in front of us. We know that transgender women of color are the most disproportionately affected by violence and hate against the LGBT communities, and this latest incident is a tragic reminder of that reality."

According to the 2012 National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP) Hate Violence Report, the most comprehensive data on hate violence affecting LGBT communities nationwide, transgender women are 2.14 times as likely to experience discrimination and 1.75 times as likely to experience threats and intimidation as compared to survivors and victims who did not identify as transgender women.

Equality Michigan is a founding member of NCAVP and has contributed annually to its data collection and findings.

"Tragically, we know the more progress we achieve, the more violence we see perpetrated against our communities. Resistance to ending the unequal treatment of LGBT people too often manifests as transparent and gruesome acts of dehumanization," said Emily Dievendorf, Equality Michigan's managing director. "Equality Michigan will be there to help the transgender community with this latest attack, continue to work with police and local officials to bring an end to the severe and pervasive violence that transgender people face on a daily basis, and will not stop working to amend Michigan's Ethnic Intimidation Act to be LGBT inclusive and finally protective of all Michiganders."

Later this month, gatherings will be held in Detroit, Traverse City, Ann Arbor, and other Michigan communities for Transgender Day of Remembrance. The annual event memorializes transgender individuals killed because they identify with the transgender community.

Update: Jerry Peterson, Executive Director of Ruth Ellis Center, was concerned upon hearing of the murder. He and his staff checked on transgender members who use their services. "To the best of our knowledge, no one currently engaged with Ruth Ellis Center was involved. Everyone is accounted for."


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