Home/Rod Dreher/The Phony ‘Epidemic’ Of Anti-Trans Murder

The Phony ‘Epidemic’ Of Anti-Trans Murder

Elizabeth Warren at this week's Democratic debate, where she promised to read aloud each year the names of murdered transpeople, if elected president (PBS screenshot)

At last night’s Democratic debate, Elizabeth Warren solemnly declared that if she is elected, she will make a point of coming out onto the White House lawn once a year and reciting aloud the names of all the transgendered Americans who have been killed in the past year.

Dying While Trans is a big thing on the Left, and in the mainstream media. We keep having stories — Google them, you’ll see — on the “epidemic” of murders of transgendered Americans. The American Medical Association has also labeled it an “epidemic.” According to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the leading LGBT lobby, 22 trans persons have been murdered so far in 2019. One is too many, but to put this in perspective, in 2018, there were over 16,200 murders in the US. In my medium-sized city alone in 2019, there have already been 75 homicides — over three times the “epidemic” of trans murders. Nobody is talking about an “epidemic” of murder in Baton Rouge. Nor should they, as awful as the killings are, because to label it an epidemic would be meaningless.

The word “epidemic” when applied to the killing of transgendered people is 100 percent a political term, one that has no real-world meaning whatsoever, except insofar as it can advance the pro-trans narrative. It is pure propaganda. 

The New York Times said earlier this year:

The paucity of reliable data makes it difficult to measure whether violence against transgender people has increased. But many advocates say that hostility has intensified, as a rise in visibility has also stirred animosity and emboldened people to attack.

“Advocates.” Here are some high-profile advocates:

The violence against transgender women has been cited by several Democratic presidential candidates, including Senators Kamala Harris and Cory Booker, and Julián Castro, the former housing secretary. At a candidates forum on L.G.B.T.Q. issues in Iowa last week, Senator Elizabeth Warren read aloud the names of those who have been killed this year.

Who are these people? Last month, HRC released a report on what it calls “the epidemic of anti-transgender violence.”Here is a statistic from the report on the 22 dead trans people:

That’s interesting. Nine out of 10 were black. Are 90 percent of transpeople black? Of course not. And four out of five were young. You know who else is wildly disproportionately represented in homicide statistics, both as killers and victims? Black males under the age of 30 — like these dead transgendered people.

I did a little digging into the backgrounds of each person on HRC’s list, to see if I could find out the circumstances of their murder. You would think from the way HRC talks about it, and the way the news media talks about it, and politicians like Elizabeth Warren talk about it, that these people were murdered in an anti-trans hate crime. It is not true. Most of them were street prostitutes, which is about the most dangerous work anyone can do. The Trans-Industrial Complex is creating 100 percent propaganda out of their deaths. Here’s what I found. All these people below are on the HRC “epidemic” list:

1. Dana Martin, first trans person killed in America in 2019, as lots of media said. As far as I can tell, police haven’t arrested a suspect yet, and have offered no motive. There is no reason at all to believe that Martin was targeted because he identified as a woman. But Martin was not exactly a model citizen. A year earlier, Martin was arrested for macing a store employee who tried to stop him in the act of shoplifting.

2. Claire Legato was shot to death when he interfered in a violent argument between his mother and a man over a tax refund check.

3. Muhlaysia Booker was shot by an alleged serial killer who trolled the neighborhood where he picked her up, looking for prostitutes.

4. Ashanti Carmon, a prostitute for 11 years, was shot and killed as he worked the streets near DC. None of the stories about Carmon’s killing on gay activist website mention this inconvenient truth.

5. Michelle “Tamika” Washington, shot and killed in Philadelphia. The man who confessed to the murder said it was over an illegal gun deal. Police did not charge the killer with a hate crime.

One of Washington’s friends, Mikal, was profiled in VICE. He is a young gay black man who has lost five male-to-female trans friends to murder in the past few years. Whaddaya know, they were all prostitutes:

After breakfast with Mikal, he took me to an alleyway in the gay neighborhood behind a popular bar where trans girls perform some nights. But, Mikal told me, it’s the alleyways where the real Black, trans community is built. Girls will turn a trick, or shoot the shit with their sisters after hours. Mikal stood at the intersection of those narrow Philadelphia streets, looking up at the trans and gay pride flags mounted on top of the building before him, as if looking up at heaven, where too many of his sisters are now.

6. Paris Cameron, a black M-t-F transgender, was shot to death at a house party, along with two gay black men. A motive has not been established. Police believe it was linked in some way to the sexual identities of the victims, but it’s complicated. The 19 year old arrested for the shooting (he walked into the party and opened fire) is said by one witness to have had sex with some at the party, and was mad because they called him gay.

7. Jazzaline Ware, 34, was found dead in his Memphis apartment. According to HRC, there is not much online information available about Ware’s death, but HRC quotes “sources” as saying that Ware’s death might have been from natural causes. Still, HRC included Ware in its report, because hey, why not?

8. Chanel Scurlock — shot to death in an armed robbery. 

9. Zoe Spears was a prostitute shot and killed while working the streets. Police charged a suspect in the killing, and said it had nothing to do with Spears’s gender identity.

10. Brooklyn Lindsey was a Kansas City prostitute shot to death by a man trying to pick her up.

11. Denali Berries Stuckey, born Derrick Stuckey, lived on the wild side. In 2013, he and another transgender prostitute invited two guys living in a cheap motel to come over for sex. When the men discovered that the two “women” were actually men, they began to argue with them. Derrick Stuckey pepper-sprayed one of the men, and was arrested for it. Stuckey was shot and killed by a man who turned himself in and confessed. He says he knew the victim, who was a former neighbor. Police did not classify the murder as a hate crime, but said they would if their investigation turned up information validating the charge.

12. Tracy Single was killed by his boyfriend.

13. Kiki Fantroy was shot and killed on the street by a teenage thug with a long criminal record. Miami police do not believe that Fantroy’s gender identity had anything to do with the crime.

14. Bubba Walker was a man who presented as female. His body was discovered in a burned house. Circumstances surrounding his death are murky. Some who knew him said he was homeless. Police are investigating, as he had been reported missing, but it is not known if he was murdered. Nevertheless, he was on HRC’s “epidemic” list.

15. Pebbles LaDime Doe was murdered in South Carolina. It made national news — NBC News reported it — even though there was no evidence at all that the killing had anything to do with Doe’s gender identity. All it took was a bleat from a local LGBT activist group to make national news:

“We are sounding the alarm — we are in an absolute state of emergency for black transgender women,” said Chase Glenn, executive director of South Carolina LGBTQ group the Alliance For Full Acceptance. “We are at a crisis point that demands the nation’s attention.

An absolute state of emergency! 

Ernest Devontay Doe — Pebbles’s real name — had been on law enforcement’s radar as a fugitive.

He was found in a car, shot to death, this past summer in Charleston, SC. I have not been able to find anywhere online details of the investigation. If anybody has solid reason to believe the murder has anything to do with Doe’s gender identity, they aren’t saying so.

16. Jordan Cofer. The only female-to-male transgender on the list, Cofer was killed in that horrifying Dayton, Ohio, mass shooting this year. There is no reason to believe that Cofer’s gender identity had a thing to do with it; the killer was her own brother, a disturbed mass-killing obsessive who was high on drugs when he murdered 26 people.

17. Bailey Reeves, 17, was shot to death leaving a Baltimore party. I could find no information about the homicide investigation, including whether or not police suspect bias as a motive in the crime. Again, though, the fact that the victim was trans is sufficient for these activists to cite the killing as evidence of anti-trans hate.

18. Florida police named a “person of interest” in the gruesome killing of MtF transgender Bee Love Slater, 23.But so far, no one has been arrested. Police have not offered a theory of why Slater was killed, much less if it had anything to do with his gender presentation.

19. Jamagio Jamar Berryman was shot to death in what police believe was a dispute with someone he was dating. There was a dispute over whether or not he was transgender. His family said he identified as male but presented as female. There is no reason to believe Berryman was targeted for his gender presentation.

20. Police in Houston arrested the roommate of Itali Marlowe in connection with the MtF transgender’s shooting death. No motive has been disclosed.

21. Brianna “B.B.” Hill was shot to death in Kansas City by a man who waited at the scene for police to arrest him. Excerpt from a local news account:

Police Capt. Tim Hernandez said 30-year-old Brianna Hill of Kansas City was killed Monday morning in eastern Kansas City.

Hernandez said he could not discuss a possible motive but the shooting wasn’t related to Hill being a transgender person.

22. The body of Chynal Lindsey was discovered by Dallas’s White Rock Lake. Police arrested Salvador Alvarado in connection with the killing, but have not offered any information about a suspected motive. Here’s what we know:

Police released no details of the circumstances surrounding the arrest, but the Dallas Morning News, citing an arrest warrant affidavit, reported Lindsey texted Alvarado an address in Arlington at about 10 p.m. on May 31.

Just past midnight, Alvarado then called Lindsey and spoke to her for about 40 seconds.

Later that day, police found Lindsey’s body floating in a lake.

Dallas’s WFAA Channel 8 did a story about Lindsey’s death. In it, a family member tells the station that Lindsey had worked as a prostitute. In the same story, a Dallas transgender activist says:

“We’re in a crisis right now, and the crisis is are we safe to walk the block to the park? To walk our animals? To go to the store? To get gas? It’s very scary.”

Call me crazy, but I think you’ll be pretty safe walking your dog or going to the store for a six-pack of diet Coke. But going out in the middle of the night to meet men you’ve met online and agreed to have sex with? Maybe not so much.

So that’s the background on all the names on the Human Rights Campaign list. HRC’s report also cited the deaths of two other trans people — an immigrant who died in the hospital after being released from federal detention (he died of a condition untreated in prison, says HRC), and a transwoman who died in Rikers Island because, according to the victim’s family, police did not treat the transwoman’s epilepsy. There is no evidence at all that the two victims’ transgender status had anything to do with their untimely deaths, but HRC claims that both “were likely impacted by circumstances fostered by hate, indifference and dehumanization.”

Right. It’s society’s fault. And Trump’s. And Pence’s. Probably J.K. Rowling’s too.

There is another murdered trans person showing up on some lists, and mentioned by HRC. Ellie Marie Washtock, a male who identified as both male and female, was shot while doing personal investigation of the suspicious death of a friend who might have been murdered by her boyfriend. There is no reason to think that Washtock’s death was related to gender identity.

Also, HRC flags the death of Nikki Kuhnhausen, a MtF transgender, who was 17 years old when he disappeared in June; his body was recently discovered. This week, a man was charged with Kuhnhausen’s murder. According to prosecutors, Kuhnhausen spent the night drinking and partying with David Bogdanov, a Russian immigrant. It is believed by detectives that Bogdanov  strangled Kuhnhausen when he found out that he was actually trans.

To my mind, if those facts bear out in court, that is the kind of thing that can legitimately be called a murder committed because of the victim’s transgender status. But surely we can recognize that pulling a Crying Game surprise reveal on a burly male Russian immigrant is not the same thing as a bigot seeing a trans person on the street and targeting that person for violence. But that complication didn’t stop HRC from blaming Donald Trump and Mike Pence for Kuhnhausen’s murder in its press release:

HRC will continue to hold the Trump-Pence administration and all elected officials who fuel the flames of hate accountable at the ballot box.

This epidemic of violence that disproportionately targets transgender people of color — particularly Black transgender women — must cease.

Such lies and slander! Of the HRC list and follow-up material, one one murdered transperson seems clearly to have been in some substantive way targeted because of gender identity — Nikki Kuhnhausen. Paris Cameron might have been too, but that is murky. There are some victims for whom gender identity was entirely incidental to their murders. There are others for whom no information one way or the other is available. But every one of them are claimed by the Human Rights Campaign as victims of anti-trans hate. 

None of these people deserved to die. Every murder is a tragedy for the victim and those who loved him. But let’s be clear: this is a phony “epidemic,” a fake “crisis,” entirely ginned up by LGBT activists and their allies in the news media to advance a political goal. If you spend the afternoon as I did, searching news accounts of these deaths, looking for details, you will find that the news media typically do not report it when these victims worked as prostitutes (“sex workers” is the woke euphemism). This is typical liberal media political correctness, trying to spin the story by eliminating facts that might put the victim in an unflattering light. If a transgender person is shot and killed while meeting a john for sex, or working the streets at two in the morning seeking clients for sex, then that is important information to have. Prostitution — especially street prostitution — is one of the most dangerous jobs in the country. There is a world of difference between a transgendered person jumped and beaten to death by bigots, and a transgendered person who lives and moves in the world of street prostitution, and who crosses paths with a killer.

What government policy would have saved the lives of these trans people murdered by their boyfriends, or in an armed robbery? There is not a law in the world that is going to make walking the street as a transgender prostitute safer. It is absurd to act as if there were such a thing.

I repeat: nobody deserves to be killed — not street prostitutes, nobody. But transgender activists need to be called out on their propaganda efforts. Politicians like Elizabeth Warren need to be called out on their empty virtue-signaling. And the news media need to be shamed into knocking off the advocacy, and practicing actual journalism when reporting on violence against transgendered people.

Once more, 75 people have been murdered in my city this year. If the demographic breakdown this year is anything like years past, the overwhelming majority of the victims are young black men who live in poverty, and who were in some way connected to the drug trade. All those black men are almost certainly baptized Christians, or at least identified, however nominally, with Christianity. Using the dishonest and hysterical standards of the Human Rights Campaign and other trans activists, we would be in the middle of an “epidemic” of anti-Christian violence in Baton Rouge, with over three times the number of murders of Christians in one city alone than the number of murders of transgenders in the entire United States.

Obviously that would be a ridiculous claim to make. It would also be slander to lay those killings of these Christian men at the foot of gay activists, liberal politicians, and others critical of Christians.

You could make the same propagandistic claim that the deaths of all these young impoverished black men is an “epidemic” of homicides against blacks, or against men, or against young people, or against poor people. Pick your victim category, and the press release writes itself.

The trans thing is really important, though, because making transgendered people into sacred victims is how activists and allies attempt to destroy any opposition to what they demand. They have monstered this British feminist Maya Forstater for refusing to say that trans people are the sex they claim to be — this, despite the fact that she says she defends their right to present in a chosen gender, and will use their pronouns. The fact that she refuses to share their delusion is enough to make her Public Enemy No. 1. And activists have also now monstered left-wing feminist and Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling for defending Forstater. Here’s the headline on a pathetically whiny article on the popular liberal site Vox:

Trans activists and sympathetic journalists are committed to the Big Lie about this so-called “epidemic.” Don’t you believe them.

UPDATE: I would also point out that in these cases when someone has been arrested and charged with murder, the suspect is always a black man. If trans activists were interested in the facts here, they would be talking about how based on the facts, black men have a problem with transgendered people. But none of this is fact-based. It’s all about propagandizing the public.

 

 

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

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