On Friday, a jury found Dwight DeLee guilty of manslaughter in the first degree as a hate crime for killing Lateisha Green. This is the first hate crime conviction for the killing of a transgender person in New York state, and only the second such conviction in the United States. Though the trial is concluded and Lateisha’s family feels justice has been served, transgender people around the world face extremely high rates of discrimination and violence. Posts at Transgriot, Questioning Transphobia, and Feministe address the issues of pronoun usage, the lack of protection for trans people under New York hate crime laws, and the ongoing threat of violence to transgender people.
Since 2008, the murder of a trans person is reported every third day, and many of these murders go uninvestigated and unsolved (source: Transgender Europe via Questioning Transphobia).
What You Can Do:
* Remember those who have been killed: The annual Transgender Day of Remembrance will occur on November 20th. See their site for updates.
* Follow the blogs linked above, as well as (and especially) TLDEF, which did an incredible job of following the trial and making it visible in the media.
* If you are a student, parent, teacher, or otherwise involved with a school, encourage your community to address bullying based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
* Host a screening of Not In Our Town: Northern California to spark discussion and raise awareness and funds around the issue of violence against trans people. (Link goes to a YouTube clip.)
I want to end this post by sharing the moving statement that Lateisha’s family made after the verdict was announced:
“Teish, a beautiful girl. A wonderful daughter. A brave soul. Teish was all of these things despite the adversity that regularly tried to weigh her down and overshadow her love of life. She was taken away from us too soon. All it took was one bullet.
“A bullet from a rifle that pierced her lungs and heart. And it took this one mere bullet to end Teish’s life because she happened to be a transgender woman. We have spent months waiting for this day to come.
“8 long months that have kept our family captive to our fears, sadness and anger. Afraid to leave our homes, sad to have lost Teish and angry that we couldn’t prevent this from happening to our little girl. But today, the jury delivered a verdict that will end most of the horrors experienced by our family and friends.
“The jury convicted Dwight DeLee of killing Teish in cold blood. They found him guilty of targeting Teish simply because of her difference. And the jury has made it clear that any loss of life in our city and county because of anti-gay and anti-transgender bias is unacceptable and wrong. Justice has been done.
“But we will never get to see Teish ever again. She will forever live in our hearts and minds. And it is our duty to share her story so that Teish’s memory will be kept alive. We do this so this series of painful events will never happen again to any other person because they are different.
“Our family and friends will continue to talk about Teish so others may know the love and support that every child deserves regardless of their differences. We want to thank everyone who stood behind us and gave our family strength during such difficult times. The overwhelming amount of support has meant so much to us. We want to close by saying life is precious. Teish knew that and that’s why she would tell everyone here to be brave. To be authentic and true to yourself. And Teish would give a beautiful and bright smile to everyone here. Thank you.”