The Adventures of the Boi Wonder: Reflections on an All Too Common Tragedy
Last month, 25-year old Tyra Trent was found murdered in a Baltimore basement. She had been reported missing two weeks earlier by her family, and it took two days to identify her body and notify family.
When I read the news via email, I felt stunned and sick. I don’t know why. I had never met her and I am not one of those people who gets shocked by death and violence. For some reason, this particular case just struck me. Maybe it was the fact that we’re both in our 20’s, people of colour, transgender, living in the Baltimore area, and trying to get our lives on track. (She was getting her GED after a struggle with drugs, I’m trying to get my undergrad after/amidst struggles with mental health.)
Part of my shock may also have been the timing. When I learned of the news, it was Friday. I had just come out to two professors and one of my classes as trans. Much to my relief, everyone was really accepting and supportive. Then again, I would not have even considered coming out if the school didn’t have such a generally progressive, “live and let live” atmosphere. I guess hearing about Tyra’s murder reminded me that just outside of the walls of my college, there are still people that hate us enough to want kill us.
It is a really heavy thing to think about: The idea that there are people who, based on one facet of who you are, something you have spent a long time struggling with yourself, want to extinguish your life or cause you injury, like what happened at Cal State Long Beach to a trans student in a restroom.
Then there is also the thought that the murderer might never be caught, and that there are people out there who probably agree with what he or she did — seriously, never read the comments on a news story. It was about a year and a half ago that the DC Q St. stabbings of two trans women happened in broad daylight. Unsurprisingly, no one has been charged in that case.
Maybe the Tyra Trent case will be different, but the track record with finding and prosecuting those who murder trans people is bleak, to say the least.
Maryland is currently in debate over a gender identity anti-discrimination bill, but I am not sure that I have high hopes for it considering it is just off the heels of the failed equal marriage bill, which the Maryland conservatives are still riled up about. With this murder, I am not sure that Maryland is willing to accept us. I sincerely hope that I am wrong.
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