2016 has not had the best start, with many beloved icons passing away. And now, sadly, the first murder of a transgender person has been recorded in the US.
The victim was a Latina transgender woman by the name of Monica Loera, who was shot on her doorstep on January 22.
The Austin Police Department responded to a call about 3 AM, where they found Monica lying on the floor with apparent trauma. She was rushed to a local hospital, where she later passed away.
An arrest was made pretty swiftly, only four days later. JonCasey Rowell, 28, was charged with first degree murder and is currently being held on a $250,000 bond.
Further adding to this tragedy, the local media and police both misnamed and misgendered Monica, and it was not reported as a transgender murder until a week after it happened.
Nell Gaither, president of Trans Pride Initiative, had this to say: “It took only three weeks for the initial quiet of 2016 to be shattered by the murder of another trans person. Our thoughts and sympathies are with the family and friends of Monica Loera, and our outrage is centered squarely on the oppressive and willfully disrespectful police and media systems that continue to erase our identities and further victimize our communities and our families. In 2016, there is no excuse for such additional violence from the authorities.”
This is hardly a good sign that such a murder occured only a few weeks into the new year, especially considering that 24 transgender and gender non-conforming people were killed last year.
Let’s hope that is not a pattern that continues into 2016.