Transphobia and Violence

As more transgender people are attacked, what's the community going to do about it?

After a transgender women was brutally stabbed last week in our nation’s capital, it was announced just a day later that she died as the result of the attack. And while we wish we could say this was a rare event, the reality is that all too often those within the transgender and gender queer communities are regularly the victims of violent assaults. In Philly, there are many still open cases involving transgender people – like Nizah Morris, who died of a headwound shortly after being released from police custody in 2002. The case still hasn’t been solved.

The LGBT community has made some important strides in recent years, but it’s not always true for those like Deoni Jones – this latest victim in Washington D.C.

Jones was just 22 years old when she was stabbed at a bus stop on East Capitol Street on Thursday. It was about 8:15 p.m. – and by early Friday morning, the transgender woman was pronounced dead from the injuries sustained by an unknown assailant.

Many within the LGBT community are not only furious about the ongoing violence directed at the transgender community, but also the way in which the mainstream press reports it. In this case, a few D.C. news outlets failed to refer to Jones transgender, and instead, said she was a man who lived as a woman.

“We condemn in the strongest possible terms the transphobic language deployed by several media outlets last night and this morning,” said Jason Terry of the D.C. Transgender Coalition. “While we certainly agree that the general public needs to be aware of trans community’s losses and successes, it is imperative that members of the press refer to trans people in a way that respects each person’s gender identity or expression.”

Here in Philly, we want to remind you that there are also resources available from the Transgender Health Action Coalition, including a 24-hour hotline: 215-732-1207.

The coalition has also published a helpful safety guide that, quite frankly, is worth reading no matter what your gender or sexual orientation may be. You can access it by clicking here.