August 11, 2013

Another transgender murder

AP, of all sources, has a good write-up of the horrible murder of a transgender teen in Jamaica, where homophobia is the norm. The idea of being killed by small-minded sociopaths is something that strikes close to the heart of every GLBT person. This poor kid deserved better, way better.

These incidents always remind me of Tracy, a "drag queen" I knew when I was about 20. Today, I'm pretty sure she'd be trans. She looked every bit the woman to me. In the phrase of the day, she was "black and beautiful". Every Saturday night, we'd dance our heads off at the Gay Activists Alliance Firehouse. It was all smiles and glitter and rhinestones on this one, safe night of the week. We felt so protected there, all of us, in those very early days of the push for gay rights. But we also knew that Tracy faced a tremendous amount of hostility on the streets, much more than was ever directed our way. Sometimes she'd show us the sledgehammer she carried in her purse. She said she needed it for defense. That idea sent a chill through me.

Then one day she disappeared. Some time later, we learned from the grapevine that she'd been murdered. It was so sick, so wrong. She was a darling, and someone murdered her for being who she was. Though I've known many transgender people since that time, I can't forget Tracy. Each time I hear about one of these senseless murders, I see her dancing her heart out at the firehouse, a huge smile on her face. She was terrific.

More than 40 years later, this sort of thing still goes on. It's monstrous. Every. Damn. Time.

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