A trans woman was among the people murdered by a serial killer in the US state of Texas this month, the AP news agency reports. She is at least the 21st trans woman murdered in America in 2018.
Nikki Enriquez, who also went by the name of Janelle, was shot in the head by the killer, alleged to be Border Patrol agent Juan David Ortiz. He is accused of four murders.
The police, the media, and even the undertakers who are looking after Nikki’s funeral have all written of her as male, using her birth-name.
She was murdered on Saturday, but has now been identified. It means five trans women have been murdered in America in 16 days.
It looks dangerously like 2018 will turn out to be the worst year on record for violence against trans people in the country.
The worst on record is 2017, when 25 trans people are known to have been murdered.
The other trans women murdered in America in the last 3 weeks
- Vontashia Bell, shot dead in Louisiana.Dejanay Stanton, shot dead in Chicago.Shantee Tucker, Shot dead in Philadelphia.Londonn Moore, shot dead in Florida.
TIME TO ACT
According to the Human Rights Campaign report “A Time To Act” there were at least 25 murders of transgender people in the United States during 2017. The real figure may be higher, these are just the cases the organisation was made aware of.
HRC has kept records of violence against transgender people since 2013. It says that Louisiana, where Vontashia Bell was murdered, has the worst record of any state in America.
“SYSTEMATIC DEVALUATION OF TRANS PEOPLE”
Transgender people of colour are particularly at risk in America. The report says that well over 80 per cent of the transgender people murdered there last year were people of colour.
“Dehumanizing language and actions lower the barriers to this kind of senseless violence”, says the trans campaigning organisation Louisiana Trans Advocates.
It urges leaders in the state to “speak out against the ongoing, systematic devaluation of trans people that pervades our media and politics”.
Blame is also laid on politicians by the Human Rights Campaign, who appear to aim their remarks at President Trump. They say “when the flames of hate and discrimination are fanned by those at the very highest levels of government, the consequences can be deadly”.
President Trump has set-back transgender rights many times since he came to office. His administration has issued a ban on most transgender people serving in the military, stopped inmates using cells and toilets which match their gender, and ruled that anti-discrimination rules no longer apply to transgendered workers.
Picture credits: Janelle Ortiz, from Facebook (funeral announcement). Sheriff press conference, from Webb County Sheriff’s office. London Moore from Facebook profile. Vontashia Bell from Louisiana Trans Advocates, Dejanay Stanton from her Facebook profile. Shantee Tucker from Facebook profile.