Tragedy of Shadows

More than 15% of this year’s Transgender murders have happened in Cleveland,” says  BJ Colangelo on Wed, Jun 27, 2018 at Staggering statistic to say the least, but how does that translate for Cleveland. There have been two murders of Transwomen in Cleveland since the start of the year and just four months from each other.

February 2018, 46 year old Phylicia Mitchell was found shot outside of her home, she lived on W 112th near Detroit Avenue. East Cleveland Gary Sanders was charged with aggravated murder in the fatal shooting.

June 23, 2018 Keisha Wells was found shot and murdered in the parking lot of an apartment complex on Detroit Avenue. Her body was found alongside eleven bullet casings and she died from a gunshot wound to the abdomen. No arrests have been made at this time and the authorities say the investigation is still ongoing.

–photo courtesy of

Neither of these incidents have been labeled as a hate crime. The initial newspaper report of Keisha Well was listed as a man appearing to be transgendered. This is just more proof of the lack of sensitivity to LGBTQ situations. Keisha was a transwoman, not a man appearing to be anything. Keisha was also not transgendered, which makes it appear as if she was suffering from a condition.  With media not being sensitive to LGBTQ issues, many times these issues are not reported correctly.

“People don’t “appear to be transgender,” they either are transgender, or they are not. Reporting that someone appears transgender perpetuates the dangerous narrative that transgender people are trying to deceive with their outward appearance, and it puts them at risk for violence.” – BJ Colangelo

We still live in a world that deems transgender people as a danger to the decency of society and this kind of backward rhetoric allows them to become targeted for such horrific violence. An interesting quote I heard in the Trailblazer awards June 27, 2018 when talking about the current administration. Anthony Romero said, “We don’t love in Their American, They live in Our America…” Remember that, it is our country, it may not be perfect, but it is what we make it to be. Our fight for our basic rights is essential. We must stand together and be see.

“Silence is death, and you, if you talk, you die, and if you remain silent, you die. So, speak out and die.” ― Tahar Djaout

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