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  WINDY CITY TIMES

LGBT groups mourn transgender victim in New York
by Kate Sosin, Windy City Times
2011-08-10

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LGBT activists are condemning the murder of a transgender woman found stabbed to death in her New York apartment.

Camila Guzman, who was identified by her legal name by New York police, was found dead in her East Harlem apartment Aug. 1 at 4:41 p.m. Guzman was 38. No arrests have been made, said police.

LGBT groups denounced the murder and called for more accurate reporting from the media. Sources have used Guzman's birth name and male pronouns, despite the fact that she is reported as having identified as transgender.

The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, the Audre Lorde Project, the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund and the New York City Anti-Violence Project released a joint news statement Aug. 4 in response to the murder.

"Camila Guzman's murder and the series of violent attacks against transgender women of color in Washington, D.C., highlight the disproportionate impact of severe anti-LGBT violence on transgender people of color," said Ejeris Dixon, a deputy director with the New York Anti-Violence Project, in the news statement. "These murders are a wake-up call for all organizations that work to end hate violence."

Numerous studies suggest that transgender women, particularly transgender women of color, are subjected to violence and discrimination at alarming rates. Activists estimate that on average one to two transgender people are murdered every month in the world. Most are women of color.

Two of those deaths took place in Chicago last year. Sandy Wouldard was found shot to death near the corner of 75th and Halsted, and Selma Diaz drowned in Montrose Harbor. (Diaz's death was initially ruled a suicide but her neighbors alleged foul play.)

Police did not say whether or not the Guzman's murder was being investigated as a hate crime.

Michael Silverman, executive director at the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund, said that he remains hopeful. "So far the police have been actually good at investigating," he said.

Local politicians also condemned Guzman's murder. New York City Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito said in the news release that she was "truly saddened by the brutal murder."

"It is important that we denounce any act of violence against the transgender community and send the message that such violence will not be tolerated in El Barrio/East Harlem or anywhere in this city," she said.


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