While I was up in western New York making a little trans history with Janet Mock, the world kept turning, and I stepped off the ground to find out that two of my sisters have been killed.
And once again, it fit the infuriating pattern in these trans murders of both trans women being under age 40, and being trans women of color
The one that really bothers me is the murder of 28 year old Rae Lynn Thomasof Columbus, Ohio. This one happened mere weeks after the death up I-71 un Cleveland of 26 year old Skye Mockabee and sadly fits one of my mantras that I often repeat when I talk about anti trans bigotry and hatred.
Anti-trans hate thoughts + anti-trans hate speech = anti-trans hate violence and murders.
Gee, wonder where the 53 year old Byrd heard that description and some of that anti-trans rhetoric? Pope Francis? Some sellout kneegrow pastor? The Republican Party? Right wing media?
Wherever he heard it, it unfortunately resulted in Byrd unfortunately taking his transphobic hate thoughts and hate speech to another level on Wednesday, as he called Thomas ‘the devil’ one last more time before he shot her twice and killed her.
And once again, the local paper, the Columbus Dispatch, added insult to injury by not only misgendering Rae Lynn, but refuses so far to correct their problematic story.
He was arrested, charged with murder and is being held in the Franklin County Jail on a $2 million bond. Hope that will be a permanent condition for his when justice is served in this case.
775 miles to the west of me along I-10 in El Paso, we lost another trans woman to senseless anti-trans violence on Monday.
38 year old Erykah Tijerina was found dead in her apartment on Lisbon St. El Paso County medical examiners have not as yet ruled on the cause of Erykah’s death, but El Paso police investigators in the Crimes Against persons unit are quoted as saying there were obvious signs of foul play.
And just as in the Thomas murder, Tijerina was misgendered in the El Paso press.
Her family thinks it was a hate crime and she was targeted for being her unapologetic trans Latina self. In case you’re wondering, no thanks to Diane Hardy-Garcia, the head at the time of the proto organization, the Lesbian Gay Rights Lobby that became Equality Texas. As the ED of the LGRL she was responsible despite our best efforts, for throwing Texas trans people under the legislative bus in 1999 and 2001,
And nope, still pissed off about what happened in Austin at that time.
As a result of her actions, Texas trans people are not covered under the state’s James Byrd Hate Crimes law that eventually passed in the 2001 Texas legislative session. Translation: Tijerina’s death isn’t being investigated as a hate crime as a result of that legislative bull feces.
I’ll gripe about that legislative travesty another time. Right now I need to be focused on the fact my fellow Texan’s life was tragically cut short earlier this week.
And yeah Dan Patrick, Greg Abbott, Ken Paxton and Texas Republican Party, your anti-trans rhetoric has real world consequences and negative ripple effects in the lives of transgender Texans
As of this writing there has not been an arrest made in Tijerina’s murder, and anyone who has information that will lead to the capture and successful prosecution of it is urged to call El paso Crime Stoppers at 915-566- TIPS (8477) or toll free at 877- 566-TIPS.
If you have tips that will lead to the expeditious capture, prosecution and conviction of Tijerina’s killer, please call the El Paso Police Department at 951-000-0000, text EPPD and the tip to 847411 or submit an anonymous tip
There will be a vigil hosted by Sun City Pride for Tijerina at The Edge nightclub tonight at 8:30 Pm MDT, with a second vigil being planned for August 21.
Tijerina’s family also has a GoFundMe page up to help raise funds to defray the costs of her funeral.
I will be keeping up with the legal developments in both these cases until both the perpetrators of these murders are brought to justice.
Rest in power and peace Rae Lynn and Erykah.