The LGBTQ+ Protections Act
The LGBTQ+ Protections Act
As we move further into 2020, I believe that as a transgender woman of color witnessing horrific acts of violence against our community, it's time to make a stand and acknowledge this violence as irrefutably unacceptable. This violence is coming disproportionately affecting the Trans Community in a way that makes navigating society and accessing vital resources such as healthcare and education almost impossible. Below are the names of the murdered trans women this year:
- Dustin Parker, 25, was fatally shot in McAlester, Oklahoma, early on New Year’s Day. His employers released a statement shortly after his death, remembering Parker as “a steadfast friend, an amazing husband and father and generous to a fault. He loved fiercely, worked tirelessly and took on life with so much hope and enthusiasm that his presence brightened all of our lives.”
- Neulisa Luciano Ruiz, was fatally shot in Toa Baja, Puerto Rico on February 24. According to Metro Puerto Rico, members of her community knew her as "humble" and "noble."
- Yampi Méndez Arocho, 19, was killed in Moca, Puerto Rico, on March 5. Arocho, a transgender man, shared his love for basketball and the NBA -- donning Miami Heat apparel on social media. The biography line on his Facebook reads simply, “Humility Prevails.”
- Monika Diamond, 34, a Black transgender woman, was killed in Charlotte, North Carolina on March 18. Diamond was active in the Charlotte LGBTQ and nightlife community and was the co-owner of an event promotion company. She also was the co-CEO of the International Mother of the Year Pageantry System -- a pageant that honors LGBTQ mothers.
- Lexi, 33, a transgender woman, was killed in Harlem, New York on March 28. According to reports, Lexi was fatally stabbed in Harlem River Park. “I really looked up to her because of her tolerance and respect,” said Lavonia Brooks, a friend of Lexi. “Lexi had a beautiful heart, she was very gifted.” Brooks also noted that Lexi loved poetry, makeup and fashion.
- Johanna Metzger, a transgender woman, was killed in Baltimore, Maryland on April 11. According to reports, she was visiting a Baltimore recovery center from Pennsylvania at the time. Johanna was known for her love of music and taught herself to play multiple instruments.
- Serena Angelique Velázquez Ramos, 32, was killed in Puerto Rico on April 21. Ramos was killed alongside Layla Pelaez Sánchez, 21. According to reports, Ramos was visiting the island on vacation, and was set to return to her home in Queens, New York, at the end of the month. Loved ones are mourning her death, calling her “full of life,” a “happy person,” and a “sincere friend.” On May 1, two men were charged under federal hate crimes law for Ramos's death.
- Layla Pelaez Sánchez, 21, was killed in Puerto Rico on April 21. Sánchez was killed alongside Serena Angelique Velázquez Ramos. According to reports, Sánchez had recently moved to the island, and was living in the Tejas neighborhood in Las Piedras. On May 1, two Puerto Rican men were charged under federal hate crimes law for Sánchez's death.
- Penélope Díaz Ramírez, a transgender woman, was killed in Puerto Rico on April 13. “Penélope did not deserve to die. Transgender people do not deserve to die. Every single advocate, ally, elected official and community member must stand up in light of this horrific news and say ‘No more.’ What we are doing is not enough,” said Tori Cooper, HRC Director of Community Engagement for the Transgender Justice Initiative.
- Nina Pop, a Black transgender woman, was killed in Sikeston, Missouri, on May 3. She was deeply loved by her family, friends and community, according to her Facebook page.
- Helle Jae O’Regan, 20, a transgender woman, was killed in San Antonio, Texas, on May 6. O’Regan was proud of her trans identity and on Twitter, she often spoke out against injustice, including the LGBTQ inequality, the prison industrial complex and the need to decriminalize sex work. Damion Terrell Campbell, 42, has been charged with O’Regan’s murder.
- Tony McDade, a Black transgender man, was killed in Tallhassee, Florida, on May 27. His friends and family shared how he was an energetic, giving person with a big heart.
- Dominique “Rem'mie” Fells, a Black transgender woman was killed in Philadelphia, Pennsyania, on June 9. One personal friend posted online, “Dom was a unique and beautiful soul who I am lucky to have known personally. I am beside myself right now. We need to fight!! We need to do more!!!! We will get justice.”
- Riah Milton, a 25-year-old Black transgender woman, was killed in Liberty Township, Ohio on June 9. In March, she posted the status “Never been scared to struggle. Imma get it eventually” -- a comment highlighting her resilience and optimism as a person facing a transphobic, misogynist and racist society.
- Jayne Thompson, a 33-year old white transgender woman, was killed in Mesa County, Colorado, on May 9. She was killed by a Colorado State Patrol trooper and misgendered in initial news reports.
- Tete Gulley, a homeless Black transgender woman, was found hanged from a tree on May 27 in Rocky Butte Park, near to a homeless encampment. Her death has been ruled a suicide by the Oregon Medical Examiner’s Office.
Selena Reyes-Hernandez, a 37-year old transgender woman, was killed in Chicago on May 31. “We have lost a beloved member of our trans family because of hate -- hate that has corrupted our country’s soul and that shatters lives and futures every day,” said Tori Cooper, HRC director of community engagement for the Transgender Justice Initiative.
Brayla Stone, a 17-year old Black transgender girl, was found killed in Little Rock, Arkansas, on June 25. “Brayla Stone was a child. A child, just beginning to live her life. A child of trans experience. A Black girl. A person who had hopes and dreams, plans and community,” said Tori Cooper, HRC director of community engagement for the Transgender Justice Initiative.
Merci Mack, a 22-year old Black transgender woman, was killed in Dallas, Texas, on June 30. Her loved ones shared how beautiful of a friend she was. On her social media, she had recently posted that she enjoyed baking and that she was looking forward to returning to work. On July 8, a man was arrested on a murder charge in connection to her death.
Shaki Peters, a 32-year old Black transgender woman, was killed in Amite CIty, Louisiana, on July 1. “In just four days, we have seen the deaths of at least three transgender and gender non-conforming people, including Shaki Peters. This horrific spike in violence against our community must be an urgent call to action for every single person in this nation,” said Tori Cooper, Director of Community Engagement for HRC’s Trans Justice Initiative.
Bree Black, a 27-year-old Black transgender woman, was killed in Pompano Beach, Florida, on July 3. “These killings are being fueled by the deadly combination of racism and transphobia, and they must cease. We must come together as a community and demand justice for those who were taken from us,” said Tori Cooper, Director of Community Engagement for HRC’s Trans Justice Initiative.
Summer Taylor, a white non-binary person, was in Seattle, Washington, on July 4. Taylor was participating in the Black Femme March in solidarity with Black Lives Matter and against police brutality. Taylor worked full time at Urban Animal veterinary hospital.
Not only should we demand justice for the lives lost due to transphobic violence but we must introduce legislation that protects us and our rights. I am creating this petition in hopes of adopting a bill called the LGBTQ+ PROTECTIONS ACT. The idea behind this initiative is as follows:
- All acts of violence against lesbian, gay, bi, trans and queer men and women will be federally considered hate crimes and can be punishable by law under local hate crime statutes. This should also consider hate crimes committed on the basis of the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, or gender of any person. As it stands there are laws that reflect this but it must be proven that the motivation was an act of hate due to race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, sexual orientation or gender. Adopting this bill would effectively make ALL ACTS OF VIOLENCE unconditional hate crimes. Let's be honest, violence is hate and must be treated as such under federal law.
- The supreme court just declared that workers cannot be fired for being gay or transgender. Even though this is a good step in the right direction, it's not enough! We must extend these protections in healthcare, education, housing, rehabilitation services and any other resources that people in society need to have access to in order to exercise their constitutional right to Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness as declared by the United States Declaration of Independence.
- We must allocate resources to develop LGBTQ+ protection centers which would provide access to resources such as housing, lawyers and legal teams, healthcare and emergency medical services, mental health services, employment, social justice organizations and any other viable community resources to enhance the quality of life for those who are most vulnerable in our society.
- Intersex people in the United States are subjected to medical practices that can inflict irreversible physical and psychological harm on them starting in infancy, harms that can last throughout their lives. Procedures that could be delayed until intersex children are old enough to decide whether they want them are instead performed on infants who then have to live with the consequences for a lifetime. We need legislation that would effectively ban "medically unnecessary" surgeries on intersex children prior to their ability to give informed consent. The measure, which would require that a patient issue informed consent prior to any procedure, will protect intersex children from medical intervention and allow them to make these decisions for themselves when they are prepared to do so.
It is my hope that this petition will circulate nationwide and receive millions of signatures and land in the hands of the House of Representative particularly Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressly, Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar and the rest of the revolutionary progressive candidates that have inspired hope across this nation and have the power and knowledge to draft the LGBTQ+ Protections Act and introduce legislative measures so that we can be protected constitutionally and create a better tomorrow for our society! Things have to change and this change starts with us. Please pass this message around and help us fight for our communities!
With much Love,
Qween B. Amor
Endorsements: Mariah Moore, Milan Nicole Sherry