Allegations originating from racist news sites against respected civil rights journalist Shaun King, are causing intense backlash across the social media cosmos. These sites allege that the racially ambiguous media maven is entirely white, despite years of him saying that he was born to a white mother and Black father. These sites further raise doubts about a hate crime he endured as a Kentucky high school student in 1995.
Slightly More credible news sources have verified the authenticity of the birth certificate that lists his father as white. Shaun King addressed the issue in a series of tweets to his 170,000+ Twitter followers, but has yet to give explicit details about his racial upbringing or the nuances of his identity.
This controversy comes in similar vein to That Woman; self-appointed social media aficionados are drawing uninformed comparisons, transracialists are rearing their “wrong-skin” face ass heads, and white supremacists are talmbout Black privilege and Oprah.
Whatever. This article ain’t about nunna dat.
At least 16 transgender women were killed this year, outnumbering the twelve known deaths in 2014. Most of the women murdered are Black and Latinx.
A recent White House petition is calling for a federal investigation of this horrific epidemic. So far over 3,600 people have signed — a far cry from the 100,000 signature goal. The petition demands the Administration take the appropriate action steps needed to “ensure this community does not have to live in fear of losing their lives to hate and violence.”
Echoing this call is transgender actress Laverne Cox, known best for her pivotal role in Orange is the New Black. On Good Morning America, she declared a “state of emergency,” and spoke with fierce urgency about the constant violence transgender people experience for daring to exist.
It’s hard to accurately capture how many transgender people have been killed. There is no official monitoring method, and frequently, trans* bodies are misgendered further leading to skewed numerical counts. This, along with the likelihood that trans* deaths aren’t even reported, suggests that the numbers available are grossly understated.
Last week alone, three transgender women (that we know of) have been killed. Amber Monroe (20) was found shot and killed in Michigan. Tamara Dominguez (36) was found dead in Kansas City, Missouri after being run over by an SUV. Kandis Kapri (35) was shot and killed in Phoenix. Shade Schuler’s (22) body was so decomposed, it took Dallas police officers two weeks to identify her.
Intimate partner violence is one of the leading causes of transgender deaths. Transgender women are also more likely experience police violence, and less likely to report trans-antagonistic hate crimes. Transgender women also structurally denied access to employment, housing, and health care at alarming rates.
Cultural erasure is yet another hardship that transgender women experience. The most recent and disturbing example of such is seen in the production and promotion of the highly anticipated Stonewall, a film depicting the iconic uprising that launched the modern day LGBTQ movement. The historic transgender provocateurs Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera are depicted by a cisgender white gay man.
Transgender women are indeed in a state of emergency. And, as a cisgender woman, I stand in unwavering solidarity with transgender women whose narratives I’ll never craft, but actively uplift.
- “16 Trans People (That We Know Of) Have Been Murdered This Year” Terrell Jermaine Starr, AlterNet
*Featured Image Credit: www.buzzfeed.com