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US What happens after a transgender woman is murdered? For family and friends, a long and agonizing search for closure

13:17  20 november  2019
13:17  20 november  2019 Source:   usatoday.com

Police searching park with bloodhounds for missing woman

  Police searching park with bloodhounds for missing woman Authorities are using bloodhounds to search a Staten Island park in the hunt for a New Jersey woman who has been missing since October. © Freehold Township Police Department Stephanie Parze, 25, of Freehold Township, N.J., has not been seen since around 10 p.m. at her home on Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2019. Stephanie Parze, 25, was last seen Oct. 30 after visiting a psychic with members of her family, New York City ABC station WABC reports. Parze, who works as a makeup artist, dropped her family off at their house and then went to drive home.

What happens after a transgender woman is murdered ? For family and friends , a long and agonizing search for closure . Kristin Lam. Long after the names of murdered transgender women disappear from social media feeds, their loved ones are still searching for justice and closure .

Margaret Martin was a woman from Kingston, Pennsylvania, who went missing on 17 December The Indian Air Force was unaware of what happened and declared him missing. Jacques Vergès, a French-Vietnamese lawyer, left his wife Djamila Bouhired and cut off all ties with friends and family .

Muhlaysia Booker was a nurturer: the 22-year-old transgender woman took care of her community and loved to make people laugh.

She told relatable stories in live videos, made sure friends had a place to sleep, enjoyed getting her makeup done and dreamed of traveling to Austin. 

She shouldn't be dead, says one childhood friend, who, six months later, is still seeking an explanation to why a man killed Booker, leaving her lying face down in the street and shattering their plans for the future.

1 Dead, Woman Seriously Burned In Fire At Pico Rivera Strip Mall

  1 Dead, Woman Seriously Burned In Fire At Pico Rivera Strip Mall The fire broke out at Top Line Nails, 9302 Whittier Blvd., at about 8 p.m. Wednesday night. Firefighters say the fire started in the attic area, which had been reportedly been used as an employee area where business operations were being handled. When firefighters arrived, the attic was engulfed in heavy flame. Neighboring stores were damaged, but the fire was put out after 9 p.m.A body was found inside the smoking, charred building. One woman with serious burns was taken to a hospital in critical condition, while another man and a firefighter suffered serious injuries.

Please remember that transgender women are women and transgender men are men. Simple tasks, like shopping for clothes, were agonizing . For those with tight budgets, young children, or other travel limits, a long convalescence in a distant jurisdiction is an insurmountable obstacle.

Transgender Americans, particularly nonwhite women , face disproportionate rates of violence.Credit Scott Olson/Getty Images. The victim was Stephanie Montez, a transgender woman . So advocacy groups are left to comb news reports and talk to victims’ friends or family .

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Long after the names of murdered transgender women disappear from social media feeds, their loved ones are still searching for justice and closure. It can take years for an arrest or conviction, leading family to often question whether the killings are being treated as a priority by law enforcement.

In this Friday, April 20, 2019 photo, Muhlaysia Booker speaks during a rally in Dallas. © Provided by USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Satellite Information Network, Inc. In this Friday, April 20, 2019 photo, Muhlaysia Booker speaks during a rally in Dallas.

In some cases, police and lawyers inflict further harm by misgendering and misnaming victims. And, in every case, advocates say convictions do not prevent violence against transgender people in the first place. 

Man charged with stealing donation jars meant for family of murdered Waterville mother

  Man charged with stealing donation jars meant for family of murdered Waterville mother Waterville police said they have charged a man with stealing two donation jars meant to benefit the family of a mother killed last month. Christopher Hodges, 31, was charged with two counts of theft. Sign up for our Newsletters He is accused of taking two donation jars placed at the Dunkin' on College Avenue and Upper Main Street. Money from the donations jars was supposed to go to the family of Melissa Sousa. Police said the donation jars were taken while friends and family were holding a vigil for Sousa. She was found shot to death in the basement of her apartment building last month.Police said they used surveillance video to identify Hodges as a suspect.

A similar case, where a transgender woman sought to change her gender marker to female, was heard in December 2017. After same-sex marriage law became effective on May 24, 2019, transgender persons could marry a person of the same registered gender .

ROME, Ga. — Before she fell on hard times and got into trouble with the law, Ashley Diamond had a wardrobe of wigs named after her favorite divas. “Darling, hand me Aretha” or Mariah or Madonna, she would say to her younger sister when they glammed up to go out on the town.

Jessica Anderson recognizes the upcoming prosecution of Booker's suspected killer can only do so much. 

"I would love for him to stay behind bars, but it's still not going to bring my best friend back," Anderson says. 

Muhlaysia Booker: Her name is still 'being dragged through the mud,' friend says

Nationally, Booker is one of at least 22 transgender people killed in 2019 who will be honored at Transgender Day of Remembrance vigils on Wednesday, according to the Human Rights Campaign. She is one of four black transgender women who have died in Texas. 

About a month before she was fatally shot, Booker went viral — but it wasn't through one of her Facebook live videos, where she shared day-to-day experiences with some 20,000 followers. A video of a group assaulting Booker in her hometown of Dallas garnered thousands of views.

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  Her Car Is in the Driveway. Her Phone Is at Home. But She’s Missing. Her car was in the driveway. Her phone was on the couch. Her dog was running around. Everything about Stephanie Parze’s home in New Jersey, her father says, seemed undisturbed — except that she was not there. The last time her mother saw Ms. Parze, they had kissed goodbye after a night out with friends and family, according to a report. She asked her daughter to call or text when she got home. On the way, Ms. Parze sent her mother, Sharlene, a picture through Snapchat.

Colin Campbell Ross was hanged in Melbourne in 1922 for the murder of 12-year-old Alma Tirtschke the previous The compensation was the first award to a family for a person wrongfully hanged. After an hour of interrogation by the officers, a deputy stated that Stinney confessed to the murder .

"Reassure them that you will be friends regardless of their gender , and you want them to be happy," Friedman says. It's not unusual for someone to come out as transgender after they've had kids or retired. They may feel they couldn't express themselves before, or didn't realize they were trans until

It wasn't the first time Booker survived assault, Anderson says, recounting that someone threw urine at Booker while she worked a fast food drive-thru window and another instance in which football players jumped her as she walked home. Booker had tough skin, Anderson says, and tried to smile through it all. 

The viral assault, though, was followed by cyberbullying, as some accused her of orchestrating the beating to raise money, pushing Booker to the point where she wanted to quit, her friend remembers. A foundation started a GoFundMe campaign to support Booker but reported that she didn't receive any money.

Anderson says she made sure Booker, who cared greatly for both transgender youth and her sister La'Quincia, had food to eat and clothes to wear during her recovery.

"I even offered for her to stay with me, but she didn't want to 'cause she felt like she was intruding on me and my boyfriend's life," Anderson says, noting they had been friends since they were toddlers. 

Husband of missing woman arrested, booked on murder charges

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In the years that followed, while other transgender people quietly sought treatment abroad, too, no real transgender community developed. Material in the collection helps piece together what happened next At the end of an agonizing 13-page missive to her mother, Ms. Frye begged for acceptance After a long period of unemployment, during which she was reduced to accepting Christmas food

Murder is the unlawful killing of another human without justification or valid excuse, especially the unlawful killing of another human with malice aforethought.

Since Booker's assault and murder, which are separate cases with different suspects, Anderson has lost weight and been in and out of the hospital. She says the stress and grief exacerbated her chronic health conditions, which prevented her from attending the trial of one of the men accused of beating Booker. 

'We are not drag queens': For transgender people in 2019, a conflicted reality of breakthroughs, barriers

Booker's mother and sister told Anderson about how the defense refused to recognize Booker as a woman and used her birth name. They also relayed how the jury convicted the attacker of a misdemeanor, not a felony, and sentenced him to 300 days in jail.

"Even after her death, it still feels like her name is being dragged through the mud," Anderson says. "Even with this slap in the face as far as how much time that this man got. I ultimately believe that there is no remorse when it comes to him or anybody on the defense in general. I just wanted them to see her as a person." 

The ruling shows the need for gender identity and expression to be included in Texas' hate crime law, says Leslie McMurray, transgender education and advocacy coordinator at the Resource Center in Dallas. If the state could prosecute the case as a hate crime, she says the attacker could have faced a felony charge and state prison. 

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Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) prisoners often face additional challenges compared to non-LGBT prisoners. According to Just Detention International

Only way more agonizing . Others openly solicit input from friends or family — even asking their parents what they might have named a baby of the opposite sex. Kye Allums came out as a transgender man while playing women ’s basketball in college.

Texas isn't alone in the issue. Hate crime laws don't cover gender identity in 30 other states, including Florida, where at least seven transgender people have been killed in the last two years.

Cathalina Christina James: Family says her unsolved murder is 'not a priority' for police

Avid traveler Cathalina Christina James planned to leave Jacksonville, Florida, and head home to Florence, South Carolina, the day police found her dead. Wanting answers from 300 miles away, her family rented a van and drove along the roads James should have. 

Four siblings and James' mother, father and stepmother made the trip a day or two after hearing of the June 2018 killing, recounts De'Andra James, a sister.

They stopped at the hotel where police believe the 24-year-old black transgender woman died and looked for locations of all security cameras. They stood in the room where she had packed her bags and talked to the employee who had seen James come down for breakfast on the day she was fatally shot. They asked the cleaning staff for the path a suspect ran along and what he looked like.

"Sometimes people don't feel comfortable talking to the police," James says. "But if you got somebody's family here in your face pleading, 'I'm trying to find out what happened to my sister. We just want closure...' We just felt like maybe we could get some extra information to give to the police to try to piece the case together."

Her mother and father did deliver the information to detectives at the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, James says. Nearly 17 months later, no suspect has been arrested, according to the sheriff's office database. There is no new information on the active homicide investigation, public information officer Christian Hancock said. 

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Transgender friendly : Dr Buyers suggests one way to help transgender patients feel more at ease is to create more unisex waiting rooms. He and his wife searched far and wide for a doctor who would help Mr Beatie through his pregnancy. They were turned away by eight different doctors before finding

Your longer letter was all about everyone else in the family . Working towards the gender you feel comfortable in and that allows you to be you, takes time. People follow different paths and may or may not decide that hormone drugs and surgery are right for them and this can change over time.

The lack of progress, says Cathalina's father, Donald James, is aggravating.  

"I just don't think these cases are a priority with Jacksonville Sheriff's Office — I really, really don't," James says. "This is my opinion and the way I feel. I just don't think it's being handled and investigated like they are really, really, really concerned about these deaths of these trans women."

Her story reveals a nationwide problem: A beloved trans woman was brutally murdered by her boyfriend

In a five-month span, James was one of three transgender women murdered in Jacksonville. The killing of Antasha English is also unsolved, while the sheriff's office announced the arrest of a suspect in Celine Walker's case in September, 19 months after she was found dead. 

a group of people sitting at a table: Rosenda Ortiz, left, and Patricia Ortiz, sister and aunt of Nikki Enriquez, display pictures and drawings of Enriquez. She was one of at least 29 transgender people killed in 2018. © Rick Jervis Rosenda Ortiz, left, and Patricia Ortiz, sister and aunt of Nikki Enriquez, display pictures and drawings of Enriquez. She was one of at least 29 transgender people killed in 2018.

Authorities impeded all three homicide investigations by misnaming and misgendering victims, says Gina Duncan, director of transgender equality at Equality Florida. Besides potential informants not recognizing a victim's birth name and sex assigned at birth, the misindentification disrespects transgender people and their loved ones. 

"A gap of trust is then created in that people are not going to come forward with information to talk to law enforcement," Duncan says. "Knowing that law enforcement doesn't get it, that they don't understand the transgender community, that they don't understand the concept of one's gender identity and their lived experience." 

While Hancock did not respond to USA TODAY's request for comment about how the sheriff's office has handled the deaths, Duncan says the office has since created an LGBTQ liaison team, hosted a town hall and conducted training on how to better serve the transgender community.

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Trans woman Lucy Hicks Anderson was born in 1886 in Waddy, Kentucky. Virginia Prince, a transgender person who began living full-time as a woman in San Francisco in the 1940s This week- long violent uprising in the gay bars and streets of Greenwich Village is widely considered to be

While those efforts to rebuild trust won't undo past missteps, De'Andra James remains hopeful for a breakthrough in her sister's case. 

"We got in our hearts that one day, justice will be served on the behalf of Cathalina and the family will have closure," she says. "It may not be today, tomorrow or next year, but it's coming because we're not going to let up. We're gonna keep pushing the issue until some results get produced." 

Transgender people call for violence prevention, legal protections

While arrests and prosecutions can temporarily take transphobic attackers off the streets, Texas advocate McMurray says neither prevent violence. The inclusion of transgender people in anti-discrimination laws can make the community less vulnerable, however.

Federal employment protections — currently being debated by the Supreme Court — can ensure transgender people don't lose the jobs that pay their bills because of their identity. Housing protections, McMurray says, can prevent landlords from evicting transgender people from their apartment because of a neighbor's discomfort.

"Trying to get somebody arrested is after the damage has already been done," McMurray says. "... If I was to say what was the most important thing to me, I would say that we don't get murdered in the first place rather than prosecuting the people that do murder us."

In addition to legal protections, Duncan of Equality Florida pushes for educating employers, ensuring job training for transgender people and reviewing homeless shelters' policies — especially after the Trump administration's move to roll back the equal access rule.  

But, Duncan considers appropriate law enforcement responses to be just critical as violence prevention efforts. All deal with how transgender people are perceived, treated and included in society. 

'Shocking' numbers: Half of LGBTQ adults live in states where no laws ban job discrimination

Are they treated as less than? Are their lives not as valued? Are they reduced to a number? 

The fatality count is the focus of some stories on transgender killings, says Eliel Cruz of the Anti-Violence Project, an anti-LGBTQ violence organization. Meanwhile, the loss of each loved one continues to devastate family and friends. 

"We're seeing these deaths become the 27th person, the X-Y-Z person," Cruz said. "And we're losing the greater context of that individual's life and honoring them post-death, which can also in and of itself be violence." 

If you've experienced or witnessed anti-LGBTQ violence, or are concerned about someone who has, you can call the Anti-Violence Project hotline 24/7 at 212-714-1141. All calls are confidential. You can also report violence anonymously or ask for a counselor to reach out to you online.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: What happens after a transgender woman is murdered? For family and friends, a long and agonizing search for closure

Transgender women inmates sue Colorado, claiming harassment, violence .
Because they are routinely held with men, transgender women are subjected to abuse and discrimination, they said in the lawsuit.About 170 transgender inmates are represented in the class with seven women named as plaintiffs in the lawsuit filed Friday in state court in Denver. Gov. Jered Polis and Colorado Department of Corrections officials are named as defendants.

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