We’ve all heard about the shocking and saddening murders of Kenton Haggard and India Clark, and the huge ripples of these horrible events are still being felt, especial;y by those living locally.
It was just last week that Kenton Haggard was stabbed in the neck, and many transgender people in Fresno, California are afraid to go out at night. And who can blame them? 11 trans women have already been murdered just this year, so it’s almost already caught up to last year’s horrible record of 12 – and it’s only July.
The already tense situation is not being helped by the misgendering of Kenton, a transgender woman, as a man. Naturally, this has sparked outrage from an already angry and scared community.
LGBT groups are calling for the murders to be classified as a hate crime, with Zoyer Zyndel of Trans-e-Motion saying: “Families are more worried than they would be normally and many transgender [persons] are apprehensive about going out at night.There have been efforts to contact police. And police have not yet responded or met with activists.”
The police’s refusal to refer to Kenton by the correct pronoun has been drawn comments from the Human Rights Committee: “This once again reveals how far we still have to go in order to ensure that all members of the LGBT community have equal access to basic dignity and fair treatment.”
But, despite calls from LGBT groups to treat this as a hate crime, Lieutenant Joe Gomez of Fresno police said that there was no evidence that this was a hate crime, and also went on to say that the department refers to victims by their physiological sex and only takes their gender identity into account if they deem it relevant to the investigation.
The sense of fear these people are living with, must be felt by a huge amount of people, which is why LGBT activists gathered in Los Angeles to protest against violence towards towards transgender people. Tiffany, one of the attendees, had this to say: “We try to live our lives, yet we are told what our identity is by everyone, our families to the police, and when we are murdered, police don’t even care that we are who we are, and this is what really scares us about Fresno because it affects all of us transgender women. All people deserve to live as we feel and be treated the same way in society. And for our police to continue to think as if our identities don’t matter is more bullying and it must stop.”
Naturally, it has drawn comments and offers of condolences from high profile people, including Caitlyn Jenner, who wrote this on her blog: “Last week two transgender women were murdered named India Clarke and K.C. Haggard. 11 trans women have been killed in the United States in the past six months — most of them trans women of color.
My condolences to those who loved India, K.C., and all of the other victims. No one should be killed simply because they are transgender.
Please learn more about the violence trans people face in this report from the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs here.”