Ciara McElveen – 6th Transwoman murdered in 2017


I woke up and found it hard to speak today. My voice is in tact, but my thoughts couldn’t compose a coherent sentence after reading about the murder of another Transwoman of color. I’m not even going to use the broad term “Transwomen” anymore when referencing these ladies- They are Transwomen of color, specifically, and they are being murdered in disproportionate numbers. The fact that these are Black women is equally important, to me, as the fact they are Trans. These are not broad spectrum, indiscriminate deaths here. We need to use our words wisely and point directly to the clear problem. Black Trans women are in danger. It cannot be be brushed under the rug or glazed over by the media. The death of these women are sending a terrifying message to our younger black trans community. They know they are vulnerable and they are terrified. These women dying are not allowed to do so in vain. We cannot let them.

Perhaps the most jarring aspect of this is the bitter realization that this comes just a week after Donald Trump rescinded the previous President’s executive order that provided protections for Trans women across the nation. In this grotesque abuse of power that demonstrates his disinterest and absolute disconnect from disenfranchised minorities, he put a target on our backs. His own message may have appeared political, but it was not. By his adoring fans, ripe with adulation and appetite for violence and bigotry, he empowered their distorted ideologies that Transwomen are not people. Consequentially, we’ve had our value reduced by the wealthy, white and inconceivably privileged businessmen on Capitol Hill. Through his action, Trump is advocating, vicariously, discrimination and violence toward the trans community… and our black Trans sisters will suffer the most. The loss of another young woman is evidence that the American President sees no value in protecting us from being victimized and even killed.

Betsy DeVos, the newly appointed Secretary of Education, will sit party to these crimes as she funnels money away from public schools toward private, majority white, Christian schools that preach to students that LGBT people are perverts, mentally ill and criminal threats to their safety – especially in bathrooms.

To compound this, the Vice President with his heinously Anti-gay rhetoric and advocacy for conversion therapy to return gay people to his acceptable heterosexual lifestyle still has his hand ready on the trigger as states like Colorado campaign to ban the vicious, religiously motivated treatment.

This adds fuel to the boiling cauldron of hatred and intolerance that we thought had been brewing more and more quietly until this past election where newfound leaders raised their voices and found endorsements from extreme religious organizations and the KKK’s most notorious leaders… as well as every individual you thought you knew who, suddenly emboldened, outed themselves as a racist, misogynist bigot.

The question that must be asked is this: In these times of threats of oppression and freshly fed hate, how do we push ahead? We must, of course, or decades of work by those who came before will be lost as oppressors in power shove us back into closets and socially defined roles of gender. We must remember that our lives are not ballot issues or tabletop conversations to be had without our inclusion. We are not Hot Topics. We are human beings. It is not for Men in suits to discuss and debate our value to society. We cannot allow them to continue propagating misinformation and provoking this rage against innocent people.

We have to be louder. We must demand a voice in the conversation. We cannot continue to quietly suffer and die.