Tragedy After Tragedy

If the killing of Lawrence King wasn’t sad enough, there are too many other stories — all murders of trans POC that took place this year.

This article from The Root has a list.

And this murder, committed a little while back, has recently come to more widespread attention, as has the murder of Simmie Williams.

My students have asked, because they’re reading Stone Butch Blues, if the violence against gender diverse people is still as bad as it was then. And what can I say? Ask Lawrence King? Ask Adolphus Simmons? Ask Sanesha Stewart? We can’t. They’ve all been killed as a result of trans/homophobic violence. The daily threat might not feel so great for many of us. But that doesn’t mean people who don’t conform to gender norms aren’t at greater risk.

I so long for a new president who will get gender identity included in Federal Hate Crimes protection, whether it does any good or not. What I want is to see articles written about people like Sanesha Stewart that at least respect their choice of pronouns, as well as articles that don’t ask what the person was doing at the time – as if what a person is doing at the time she’s murdered makes it more acceptable for her to have been murdered! When are the powers-that-be going to understand is that sometimes all you have to “do” is be queer to be killed?!

The news also came through this week that Gabrielle Pickett, twin sister of Chanelle Pickett, was killed during the summer of 2003. Chanelle was killed in 1996.

I’m just tired this week. Tired of counting the dead. Tired of feeling so sullen and leaden with grief.

Helen Boyd

is the author of My Husband Betty and She's Not the Man I Married.


  1. The danger is very real in rural areas as well, it’s sometimes scary just to mow the lawn…and it doesn’t help that to the general public we’re considered just a step above a f@#%ing pedophile!

  2. Not to mention those who get tired of dealing of all the hatred and alienation and end up committing suicide.

  3. Where is it that it’s not safe to cut the lawn if you’re trans? I didn’t think that things were that bad. I can relate to unkind comments, laughs and other rude remarks, but I’ve never felt unsafe in my neighborhood.


  4. I would NEVER contemplate suicide because the rest of the world was ignorant or completely lacking in manners because there’s no way that I would ever give them that kind of power over my being. F-ck them, and the horse they rode in on.

    Actually, scratch that. The horse is probably pretty nice.

  5. Suicide is viable but not as a result of social pressure. It can manifest from internal inconsistencies that can not be resolved in a particular life cycle. Hence, move on to the next one. It might be better. It might be worse. But it will be different.

    The Japanese kill themselves all the time (extremely high suicide rate). So only the illusion that suicide is bad in Western cultures prevents more here from taking a rational course when that is the only one remaining.

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