It has been a violent summer in DC after a series of hate crimes against trans women. This past Saturday a trans woman was found dead and while it is unclear still who she is or if she was murdered–police have said it looks like she suffered trauma to her face. This is scary and infuriating.
Jason Terry, an organizer with the DC Trans Coalition, told Metro Weekly that police called him around 6:15 a.m. this morning to tell him that a transgender woman was involved in the incident, which took place in the 2600 block of 11th Street NW, just south of Fairmont Street.
Officer A. Clay, a spokesman for the MPD’s public information office, said a death had been reported from the incident, but has not been classified as a homicide. Clay said the matter was still under investigation.
Terry told Metro Weekly that the victim had been taken to the hospital, pronounced dead and taken to the medical examiner’s office to determine the cause of death. As of 2 p.m. on Sept. 10, Terry said he still did not know the identity of the victim or the cause of death.
The DC Trans Coalition has been hard at work trying to contact any trans women in the area to stay safe.
Violence against trans women does not only exist as individual hatred or bias-motivated crime. It comes in many forms and for many reasons. Trans women are systematically placed in circumstances where we are more likely than others to experience multiple forms of violence. In order to end violence against trans women, it is important to understand that more than just personal prejudices are at fault. Other kinds of oppression like racism, laws like the criminalization of sex work, economic forces like poverty and gentrification, and many other forces are also at play.
While we may not know the details of this case yet, the point still stands that trans women (and specifically trans women of color) are a particularly vulnerable population to violence and other forms of oppression due to economic, cultural, geographic and social factors.
We can maybe gather evidence about the different motives perpetrators have when targeting vulnerable communities–racism, sexism, homophobia or they are just angry maladjusted people with a combination of hatreds. But what causes an increase in violence towards a particular group? DC has shown an increase in hate crimes against trans women and a solution might start with figuring out what socio-economic and/or cultural factors are playing into that in DC.