LULAC Remembers Those Lost to Transphobia

Posted on 11/18/2020 @ 02:40 PM

Tags: Civil Rights, LGBTQ

They were our friends, neighbors, co-workers and family members—but most importantly—they were fellow human beings who deserved the right to live free from violence.

On November 20th, Transgender Day of Remembrance, we mourn and celebrate transgender people who were taken from us too soon. In 2020, American communities experienced the most violent year for Transgender people in five years with 35 deaths of transgender or gender non-conforming individuals. Advocates believe the number is higher but due to the lack of coverage or misrepresentation, these murders go unseen.

Recently, we lost Angel Haynes, a 25-year-old Black transgender woman who was killed in Memphis, Tennessee. Angel was a licensed cosmetologist and was shot on October 25, 2020. Black transgender women make up two-thirds of the victims in the United States.

According to National Center for Transgender Equality, transgender people—particularly Black and Latina transgender women—are marginalized, stigmatized and criminalized in our country. They face violence every day, and they fear turning to the police for help.

“It is unbelievable that there is no compassion for members of our community in the midst of this global pandemic,” said Bamby Salcedo, President and CEO of The TransLatin@ Coalition in a recent statement about a community member, Daniela Hernandez, who survived an attack in October that left her hospitalized. “I do not get why people continue to have this kind of hate towards our community, being that our community is one of the hardest hit from this pandemic,” added Salcedo.

Earlier this year, six transgender individuals were murdered in Puerto Rico: Penélope Díaz Ramírez, Alexa Negron Luciano, Yampi Méndez Arocho, Serena Angelique Velázquez, Layla Sánchez and Michellyn Ramos Vargas. In any other circumstance, a half-dozen killings would dominate headlines globally. Yet, because they are transgender, this may be the first time you are learning about these serial murders.

The Latinx community needs to address this horrible hate, phobia, femicides, and toxic masculinity that has been allowed to go unchecked for too long. If we don’t, who will? If not now, when?

We urge our elected leaders and community organizers this November 20th to remember and take action on behalf of those ripped from us. Learn about the discrimination faced by transgender people and help us work for change now to create a lasting impact. Team up with local transgender organizations; support local, state or federal transgender public accommodation and protection laws; and seek out members of the transgender community and invite them to become members of your LULAC council. Inclusion leads to dialogue and understanding. Understanding leads to respect and love of every human being and removes the fear and stigma that divides us. Please, just reach out.

America’s civil rights extend to all marginalized communities. If we are to remain relevant as the oldest and largest Latino civil rights organization in the nation, we need to include every single member of our Latinx family. National LULAC and its membership has created a space to include discussions on transgender rights.

From affirming Transgender rights in public accommodation, supporting Transgender military service in our U.S. Armed Forces, to protecting Transgender asylum seekers at the U.S. border, LULAC has taken a stance. We hope you do too.

For allies who want to learn more about the transgender community, click here for a Human Rights Campaign guide used by media that explains the community’s terms. To learn about issues affecting the transgender community, click here to see the legal cases being worked on by the Transgender Law Center. To learn about the work being done in our Latinx community, click here to read about the activist organization TransLatin@ Coalition.

Remember those lost and say their names. Thank you to PGHLesbian Correspondents for keeping their memories alive.

Dustin Parker – McAlester, Oklahoma. January 1, 2020. Age 25.
Alexa Negron Luciano – Toa Baja, Puerto Rico. February 24, 2020. Age 29.
Yampi Mendez Arocho – Moca, Puerto Rico, March 5, 2020. Age 19.
Monica Diamond – Charlotte, North Carolina. March 18, 2020. Age 34.
Lexi – Harlem, New York City, New York. March 28, 2020. Age 33.
Johanna Metzger – Baltimore, Maryland. April 1, 2020. Age 25.
Penélope Díaz Ramírez – Puerto Rico. April 13, 2020. Age 31
Serena Angelique Velazquez – Puerto Rico. April 22, 2020. Age 32.
Layla Pelaez – Puerto Rico. April 22, 2020. Age 21.
Jayne Thompson – Colorado, May 2020. Age 33.
Nina Pop – Sikeston, Missouri. May 3, 2020. Age 28.
Helle Jae O’Regan – San Antonio, Texas. May 6, 2020. Age 20.
Tony McDade – Tallahassee, Florida. May 27, 2020. Age 38.
Selena Reyes Hernandez – Chicago. May 31, 2020. Age 37.
Dominique Rem’mie Fells – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. June 8, 2020. Age 27.
Riah Milton – Liberty Township, Ohio. June 9, 2020. Age 25.
Brayla Stone – Sherwood, Arkansas. June 25, 2020. Age 17.
Tatiana Hall – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, approx June 29, 2020. Age 22.
Merci Mack – Dallas, June 30, 2020. Age 22.
Draya McCarty – Baton Rouge, Louisiana, July 2020. Age unknown.
Shaki Peters – Amite, Louisiana, July 1, 2020. Age 32.
Bree Black – Pompana Beach, Florida, July 3, 2020. Age 27.
Marilyn Cazares – Brawley, California, July 13, 2020. Age 22.
Tiffany Harris – Bronx, New York, July 26, 2020. Age 32.
Queasha D. Hardy – Baton Rouge, Louisiana, July 27, 2020. Age 24.v Aja Raquell Rhone-Spears – Portland, Oregon, July 28, 2020. Age 32.
Kee Sam – Lafayette, Louisiana, August 12, 2020. Age 24.
Aerrion Burnett – Independence, Missouri, September 19, 2020. Age 37.
Mia Green – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, September 28, 2020. Age 29.
Michelle Ramos Vargas – Puerto Rico, September 30, 2020. Age 33.
Felycya Harris – Augusta, Georgia, October 3, 2020. Age 32.
Brooklyn DeShauna Smith – Shreveport, Louisiana, October 7, 2020. Age 20.
Sara Blackwood – Indianapolis, Indiana, October 11, 2020. Age 39.
Angel Haynes – Memphis, Tennessee, October 25, 2020. Age 25.
Yunieski Carey Herrera – Miami, Florida, November 17, 2020. Age 39.

By Jesse Garcia, Chair, National LULAC LGBTQ Affairs Committee

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