Say Her Name: Tonya Harvey Is the Third Known Trans Person to be Killed in the U.S. This Year
Tonya Harvey, a trans woman from Buffalo, NY, has just become the third trans person (and the second of color) to be killed in 2018, following 42-year-old Christa Leigh Steele-Knudslien from Massachusetts, and Vicky Gutierrez from Los Angeles, CA. Now, the Erie County District Attorney’s office is looking into the killing as a hate crime.
The killing was first reported earlier this week, but while the police initially misgendered Harvey, The Buffalo News correctly identified her in a new report yesterday. As reported by The Huffington Post, a spokesperson for the D.A.’s office said:
“The Erie County District Attorney’s Office, along with Buffalo Police, is investigating the death of a transgender woman killed on Shepard Street. The DA’s Office is also extremely concerned about a spike in homicides of transgender people across the country and will be, as part of this investigation, looking into whether or not this is a potential hate crime.”
Police reports indicate that Harvey was shot on Shepard Street just before 5:30PM on Tuesday, and was declared dead at the scene. Not only was this the third instance of a trans person getting killed in the U.S, but it was also Buffalo’s first homicide of the year.
I need to repeat a fact: Tonya Harvey is the third reported killing of a trans person (who knows how many go unreported) in less than two months. Three people from our country’s smallest demographic in less than two months is huge. Last year, GLAAD reported at least twenty-six trans people murdered, most of them people of color.
People who love to argue against equal rights for trans people love to talk about safety, about how people aren’t safe around trans people somehow. However, in that equation, it is clearly cis people who have zero need to worry about their “safety.” Not when it’s trans people getting murdered in these numbers.
Say Tonya Harvey’s name. And then go out there and fight.
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