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Detroit police investigate anti-trans hate crimes
Authorities look for connections between park shootings
by Matt Simonette
2014-08-21

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Detroit police are not ruling out a connection in the shootings of three city residents, at least two of whom may have been transgender women, in the Palmer Park area.

Police have not yet revealed the names and identities of the victims. The situation has sown much confusion since police and local media initially reported that three "transgender men" had been shot in Palmer Park within a week. It has become clear, however, that at least two of the victims would more appropriately be referred to as transgender women—that is, persons assigned male identities at birth that nevertheless identify and live as female. According to Raw Story, the third victim, who was fatally shot, may have been a gay man. A press release from Equality Michigan indicated that the victim in that incident might have been the suspected shooter's partner.

Police said that they had spoken with a person of interest in that shooting, but no one is in custody yet.

The murder victim's body was discovered by police the morning of Aug. 15. The shooter is believed to have escaped in their automobile, but crashed into another car, fleeing the accident by foot. They left the gun used in the shooting behind.

The second shooting took place Aug. 17 and the third, a few days after that, according to Detroit Free Press. The victims in those incidents have reportedly been reluctant to reveal details about what happened. Although the Palmer Park area is frequented by prostitutes, police said that there was no indication any of the victims were involved with prostitution, mlive.com reported.

Another transgender person was found murdered in the Palmer Park area in November, 2013. In that case the remains of a 53-year-old transgender woman, who had been shot, were found burned beyond recognition in a trash container in an alley.

"We are saddened to hear of the targeting of transgender people yet again in Michigan and that yet another life has ended too soon," said Yvonne Siferd, director of Victim Services at Equality Michigan, in a statement. "We urge anyone with information about these shootings to contact the Detroit Police at (313) 596-2260 or if you have information that you would like to report anonymously call Equality Michigan at (313) 537-7000. We unequivocally offer our support to the victims and their families, and stand with our trans sisters who experience violence at disproportionate and alarming rates. We hope that those responsible are swiftly apprehended and brought to justice.

"Transgender women are far too often victims of the most severe violence. Our most recent report through the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, Hate Violence Against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and HIV-Affected Communities in the United States in 2013,consistent with previous trends noted, the vast majority of anti-transgender incidents reported were committed against transgender women. Transgender women are twice as likely to experience discrimination, 1.8 times more likely to experience harassment, and 1.5 times more likely to experience threats and intimidation compared to overall survivors. Equality Michigan and the NCAVP denounce violence and seek to raise awareness of the violence faced far too often by LGBT people in Michigan and especially people in the transgender communities. We encourage members of the LGBT community to be extra cautious around Palmer Park until the those responsible are caught."

Detroit Free Press article at: on.freep.com/1prtzbR .

mlive.com article at: bit.ly/1ts61Ew .

Raw Story article at: bit.ly/1tF9lKS .


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