SARASOTA Equality Florida issued a call to action following the murder of Londonn Moore, the fifth Black transgender woman murdered in the state in a little over six months.
At 3pm ET today a national moment of silence will be held and groups from around the country are speaking out on the murders and the lack of response from Florida elected leaders including Governor Rick Scott.
Similar to the murders of transgender women in Orlando and Jacksonville, Ms. Moore was shot at close range and her body was left in a secluded area in North Port this past weekend.
The killing of Londonn Moore, Sasha Garden, Cathalina Christina James, Antash'a English, and Celine walker represent a quarter of all reported anti-transgender murders in the entire nation so far this year. This terrifying rash of anti-transgender murders in Florida over a short period of time has spread fear throughout the transgender community.
"Regardless of whether this is the act of a single person, multiple people working in concert, or a heinous act that's a direct result of the dehumanization of transgender people seen across the nation, the spike in anti-transgender violence is a terrifying pattern that must be addressed," said Gina Duncan, Equality Florida Director of Transgender Equality. "It is critical that our state's highest office address the growing concerns of the community and clearly condemn the rise of violence towards black transgender women in Florida. After the murder of Sasha Garden in Orlando, we called on Rick Scott to clearly speak out about this murderous violence targeting transgender women and to direct state law enforcement to fully support the investigation of these murders, yet, we heard nothing. These tragedies should horrify our elected leaders and spur them into action, not sit in silence as more members of our community are murdered."
Compounding the problem, media and law enforcement has repeatedly misgendered the victims and failed to use the names in which they identify in their daily lives, which significantly hampers investigations.
"When law enforcement disrespects the dead by refusing to even use their correct names, they breed an environment of mistrust and send a message to the community that these murders are not a priority. As a result, they are actually impeding their own investigations as people with information may also fear being disrespected or mistreated if they come forward," added Duncan.
"There is a crisis of fatal violence against transgender people, and especially transgender women of color in this nation, and persistent deadnaming and misgendering by police and media is only exacerbating the tragedy," said Sue Yacka-Bible, Communications Director at GLAAD. "There is a crucial need for the media to cover the homicides of transgender people in accurate, respectful ways that give a full picture of the lives of those we have lost."
With the help of the national organization GLAAD, some media outlets did make necessary corrections to their story once notified of the proper guidelines when sharing information about transgender homicides and homicide victims. An Editor's Note from NBC Channel 2 in Fort Myers stated, "Upon further law enforcement investigation, and after this story was published, NBC2 confirmed that the victim in this story was transgender. Going forward with our coverage, we will refer to the victim by the pronouns she preferred."
Nathan Bruemmer, Executive Director of ALSO Youth and a member of Equality Florida's TransAction Florida Network, expressed concerns around the impact the murders are having on LGBTQ youth,"The murder of a 20 year old transgender youth in our community is devastating. Our youth know the statistics, they know violence happens. But now they are confronted with it right here at home. How we respond as a community at this moment is critical. We need to advocate for the appropriate responses from law enforcement and media. And we also need to be aware of the emotional impact of this murder on us all, especially on our local LGBTQ+ youth."
The lack of action across the board in response to this heightened moment of crisis nationwide has been draining in and of itself. Today at 3:00pm ET, the Transgender Law Center is calling for a national moment of silence and action for folks to take up public space and make #Time4BlackTransWomen: https://www.facebook.com/events/456811208164755
Isa Noyola, deputy director of Transgender Law Center, the largest national trans-led organization advocating self-determination for all people, issued the following statement about the action:
"We are heartbroken and furious at the murder of four young Black trans women in these past two weeks. Each of these deaths is an unspeakable loss of a beautiful, loved young Black woman, and together their murders mark a heightened moment of crisis for our community.
Now not just when the President tweets or a legislator pushes harmful policy is the moment we need allies of trans women to mobilize. Now is yet another moment we need our media to pay attention, look at the systemic problems contributing to this crisis, and finally hold each other accountable for offensive, dehumanizing coverage of these deaths. Now is the moment when non-Black trans women, like myself, must recommit ourselves to lifting up the work of Black trans women and confronting all the ways our country, founded on anti-Blackness, is killing our Black trans sisters.
We're asking folks to show up and show out for Black trans women this Friday. Wherever you are on Friday at noon PT/3pm ET, go outside, take up space with your friends, loved ones, schoolmates, and coworkers, say the names of the lives we've lost, and honor those still here in a moment of solidarity and public display of the crisis we're in. Beyond that moment, check in with Black trans organizers in your communities and ask what support looks like.
The only way through the fear that consumes us at these times is hope. The only way to build hope is through community.
It's been a devastating few years, and particularly since Trump came to office, we have not known a day without crisis. Yes, we're exhausted. But amid all these crises, we've continued to fight, to rally, and to mobilize. We can't allow the deaths of Black trans women to be the moment we fail to show up."
ALSO Youth is a Sarasota-based non profit focused on empowering LGBTQ+ youth and their allies and building inclusive communities through advocacy and education. For more information, please go to www.alsoyouth.org
Equality Florida is the largest civil rights organization dedicated to securing full equality for Florida's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. www.equalityflorida.org