Equality Florida Demands Governor Scott Address the Rash of Transgender Murders in Orlando and Jacksonville

 
 
Equality Florida Demands Governor Scott Address the Rash of Transgender Murders in Orlando and Jacksonville 
Orlando, FL --  Equality Florida is demanding Rick Scott directly address the rash of murderous violence targeting transgender women of color in Orlando and Jacksonville.
 
Last week's murder of Sasha Garden was the fourth killing since February - a terrifying and unprecedented body count that represents more than a quarter of all reported anti-transgender murders in the entire nation this year. Another transgender woman in Jacksonville was also shot five times in June but survived and Jessie Sumlar, a 30-year-old gay man in Jacksonville, was murdered this past Thursday.
 
"Rick Scott has been conspicuously silent as the number of killings continue to mount.  We need the governor to speak out, clearly and immediately, to condemn this pattern of violence targeting transgender women and to direct state law enforcement agencies to assist in the investigations," said Gina Duncan, Equality Florida Director of Transgender Equality. "At this point, we're not even sure Governor Scott can pronounce the word transgender. His lack of leadership and his lack of action is shameful. How many people have to die before this becomes a priority for Governor Scott?”
 
The number of killings in a small area over a short period of time has spread fear throughout the transgender community and raised questions about whether the murders are connected. Regardless of whether these murders are connected, such a spike in anti-trans violence is a terrifying pattern that must be addressed.
 
Compounding the problem, law enforcement has repeatedly misgendered the victims and failed to use the names in which they identify in their daily lives, which significantly hampers their investigations.  
 
"When law enforcement disrespects the dead by refusing to even use their correct names, they breed an environment of mistrust and send a message to the community that these murders are not a priority. As a result, they are actually impeding their own investigations as people with information may also fear being disrespected or mistreated if they come forward," Duncan said.  
 
Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings has issued an apology for initial reports misgendering Sasha Garden and a town hall is planned with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s office on August 2
 
It is past time for Governor Scott to speak out about this deadly violence targeting transgender women and to direct state law enforcement to fully support the investigation of these murders. It is also time for law enforcement to make these potentially orchestrated acts of violence a priority and ensure the community is fully informed on the status of the investigations.
 
The transgender community deserves answers and deserves to live without the constant fear of violence for simply living their authentic lives.
 
 
Equality Florida mourns the lives taken, #SayTheirNames: 
 
Celine Walker, 36 years old
Antash'a English, 38 years old
Cathalina Christina James, 24 years old
Sasha Garden27 years old
 

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Resources: 
 
GLAAD's vital reporting guide, Doubly Victimized: Reporting on Transgender Victims of Crimeprovides clear guidelines to ensure that transgender victims of violent crimes are treated respectfully and fairly.
 
GLAAD’s new report More Than a Number: Shifting the Media Narrative on Transgender Homicides, is an advanced reporting guide for journalists and advocates to accompany our Doubly Victimized Guide.
 
Equality Florida and GLAAD also published Southern Stories: A Guide for Reporting on LGBTQ People in Floridaan important regional resource for journalists and reporters telling the stories of LGBTQ people living in Florida. 
 
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