Today is the 20th anniversary of a needless tragedy that occurred on this date in 1995.
A 24 year old trans woman by the name of Tyra Hunter needlessly died after a car accident at 50th and C Streets in SE Washington DC of survivable injuries because of a transphobic EMT.
That happened a mere 16 months into my own physical body morphing. The Hunter case still bothers me 20 years later because the blatant medical transphobia on display could have easily happened to me or any other trans person.
The fact it was fellow African-Americans involved in his episode of transphobic hate along with it happening in the early stages of my own transition is probably why this Hunter case has stuck with me for so long. It was also one of the events that began to push me toward the trans human rights activism path.
What if Tyra had gotten the care she needed to save her life? What would a now 44 year old Tyra Hunter’s life be like now? Would she be flexing her hairdressing skills and owning her own shop by now? Would she have found love? Would she still be living in the DC area?
What kind of contributions would Tyra be making to our community and society in general if she were still here?
But no matter what scenarios I come up with good, bad or middle of the road for a 44 year old Tyra Hunter, I know deep down in my soul that they are questions we will never find out the answer to.
The reason why is because she is resting in power and peace due to the transphobic actions of one DC Fire Department EMT named Adrian Williams and subsequently at the now closed DC General Hospital from Dr Bastian because these people entrusted with the responsibility of saving human lives failed to see her as a human being..
#WeExist. Black trans people exist. And on this day we in Black Trans World and our allies must rededicate ourselves to reminding our fellow cis Black people that our Black trans lives matter, too.
The one thing that we can take away from this tragedy is that medical transphobia kills. In Tyra Hunter’s memory, we need to as a community be vigilant in ensuring the avoidable tragedy that happened to Tyra Hunter on this sad August 7 day 20 years ago never happens to another trans person of any ethnic background ever again.