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The hard lives and brutal deaths of minority transgender women

ON JULY 25, Helen Ubiñas made gratuitous use of pejorative and stereotype disguised as bluntness when she wrote that people would view Diamond Williams as some "trick-turning, drug-taking tranny."

ON JULY 25, Helen Ubiñas made gratuitous use of pejorative and stereotype disguised as bluntness when she wrote that people would view Diamond Williams as some "trick-turning, drug-taking tranny."

Would she have so casually written "trick-turning, drug-taking N-word, s-word, k-word or f-word"? A lot of people, other than some transgender people, turn tricks and do drugs. These are examples of prejudice against transgender women. By the way, for those who need to know, the word is transgender not transgendered. Transgender is something we are, not something that happened to us.

Comments have been made that the alleged murderer, Charles Sargent, killed Williams because she deceived him into thinking that she was female. If you were not there witnessing the encounter, how do you know that she deceived him? From the description given by Diamond's friends, it should have been obvious to the alleged murderer that Diamond was transgender. It has also been alleged that Sargent had tried to murder another transgender woman.

Diamond wasn't murdered because a john found out that she was transgender. Diamond was probably murdered because the murderer wanted to kill somebody and a transgender woman was a convenient and preferred victim. Saying that Williams was murdered because she deceived Sargent is just a bigoted excuse. What if women murdered every man who they thought deceived them? There might not be many men left.

The situation with these minority transgender women is that at a young age, they are severely bullied out of school, thrown out of their family's home and onto the streets. Then they have to survive with no education and no jobs. They are severely discriminated against even in the LGBT community. They aren't hired for jobs, and if they find a job they are harassed. At the same time many of the same men who harass them want to have sex with them. I have often suspected that serial killers practice on transgender women because they know that nobody cares.

A long time ago I was looking at an old drag magazine with a friend who was a former Miss Philadelphia from Henri David's pageant. She pointed at pictures and said, 'This one was thrown off a bridge," "This one was strangled with a stocking . . .." We started counting up transsexuals and drag queens we knew who had been murdered, and the count came to 13. There have been 13 times that men have tried to kill me. I rarely tell people about that because they find it incomprehensible. But one moment you are minding your own business and the next a man is chasing you down the street trying to kill you and you haven't done anything. He just thinks he has the right to kill you.

Bigoted media coverage of transgender murder victims has always existed. The coverage usually proclaims that the victims are responsible for their own deaths.

In the late '80s, Anthony Milano, a gay man, was nearly decapitated and murdered by two straight men in Bucks County. The newspapers and Philadelphia magazine wrote sensitive articles about the murder victim and the trial. At about the same time, Tanya Moore and Tina Rodriguez, two minority transsexuals who were alleged to be sex workers, were found murdered, their bodies cut up and set on fire. The newspapers and Philadelphia magazine ran lurid, sensational articles about their depraved lives. They all but suggested that these minority transgender women deserved to die.

Without an education and access to even menial employment, all that is offered many young transgender women is sex work. If it was hard before, it becomes impossible for these women to find employment after being arrested.

Women usually become prostitutes because they have no other employment options.

People care when Milano, Matthew Shepard and Tyler Clementi are bullied and murdered. People don't care when Moore, Rodriguez, Anna Francisco, Nizah Morris, Kyra Cordova and Williams are killed.