We feel frustrated and sad that Black transgender women and queer youth of color continue to experience high levels of violence at the hands of strangers, family members, partners, law enforcement, landlords, employers, and other people in their lives. These recent murders of Ty Underwood, Lamia Beard, Goddess Edwards, and Jessie Hernandez within the first 30 days of 2015 continue to show that our over-reliance on the criminal legal system as the only solution for violence prevention and intervention is not working. CUAV has been working to address anti-LGBTQ violence for the past 35 years. During this time, we’ve noticed that in most instances, media and society frame the issue as a criminal legal issue, where the most pressing concern is whether or not someone is caught, held, and tried under hate crime laws. While we’d like society to acknowledge the prevalence of violence toward our communities, this strategy has done little to provide healing and has not resulted in any decrease in rates of violence, especially towards transgender women, gender non-conforming people, and people of color.
If we’d like to see the violence against LGBTQ communities end, we must put more resources and attention into community based solutions that truly prevent violence and transform the conditions that queer and transgender people live under so they are less vulnerable to violence. We send our healing wishes to all the victims in the past months who have experienced this kind of violence.