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DC Crimes Highlight Violence Against Transgenders

Washington DC Police Chief Charles Ramsey announced yesterday the district is under a crime emergency, following the recent onslaught of violence, including the murder of two trangendered women this week. The heightened status waives the two-week notice typically required for commanders to change officers’ hours and duties.

Early Thursday morning, authorities discovered the body of an unnamed transgender murder victim in a Southeast DC field. The finding came less than 24 hours after another transgendered woman was shot and injured on Wednesday and a third– Bella Evangelista- was killed last weekend. Police arrested Antonie Jacobs, 22, on charges of first-degree murder and a gender-bias hate crime, reported the Advocate. Jacobs purportedly became angered after he paid Evangelista, a drag show entertainer, for oral sex and then discovered her biological sex.

Meanwhile, the DC shooting deaths last year of Ukea Davis and Stephanie Thomas– each sprayed with more than 10 bullets– remain unsolved. Transgender rights activists throughout the country are calling for stronger efforts– particularly from the gay and lesbian community– to boost media attention on transgender hate-crimes. Transgender rights activist Jessica Xavier, told the Washington Post, “There’s a war against transgendered women going on in this country…It’s a pandemic of violence.” According to a 1999 study by Xavier, DC is home to 4,000 transgender people-three-fourths of whom are men living as women and 26 percent of whom say they have been intimidated, reported the Post.

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Sources:

The Advocate 8/22/03; Washington Post 8/22/03; Boston Globe 8/18/03; Planet Out 8/19/03; Associated Press 8/21/03