Mercedes Williamso, 17 years old at the time of her murder.
"I miss how she flipped her hair. I miss the crooked teeth with that
beautiful smile ... I can smell her. I just keep wanting her to walk
through the door ... I'll never have nobody like her again. That is
barely something that crosses people's lives anyway. She was the most
beautiful person." Jeanie Miller, surrogate mother.
Williamson is the ninth reported trans woman that we know of has who been murdered this year. The facts of her murder are just now being revealed because of misgendering by local media.
These are the names of the trans women we have lost in 2015. Remember their names and their lives, taken too soon: Papi Edwards, 20, Louisville, KY; Lamia Beard, 30, Norfolk, VA; Ty Underwood, 24, Tyler, TX; Yazmin Vash Payne, 33, Los Angelos, CA; Taja de Jesus, 36, San Francisco, CA; Penny Proud, 21, New Orlean, LA; Kristina Grant Infiniti, 47, Miami, FL; London Kiki Chanel, 21, Philadelphia, PA; Mercedes Williamson, 17, Theodore, Al. There is also Bri Golec, 22, Akron, OH, who may have been a tenth murdered transgender woman (reports from friends are unclear).
This is what an epidemic of violence against trans women looks like.
At the inaugural National Trans Anti-Violence Convening this past March, Lourdes Hunter of the Trans Women of Color Collective stated, “Last year, 12 trans women of color were (reported) brutally murdered in a 6 month time span as our nation’s largest LGBT organizations celebrated the 45th anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion now known as Pride. This year, there have been at least 8 (reported) murders of trans women of color and 6 (reported) deaths by suicide of trans youth. Now more than ever, our communities are in need of healing, fellowship, to be held and to come together to address the physical and structural violence we face every day.”
As we celebrate Pride across the U.S., let us honor the names of those who have been murdered. Let’s remember that the gay pride movement was built on the backs and literal bodies of trans women of color. Let’s do more than say their names. Let’s stand collectively and say that this must stop.
Reporting from Autostradle and the Sun Herald