Deeniquia Dodds And Speaking Up About Trans Violence

Deeniquia Dodds And Speaking Up About Trans Violence

Despite progress when it comes to representation, America is still quiet about trans homicide

Despite progress when it comes to representation, America is still quiet about trans homicide

Text: William Defebaugh

Last week, 22-year-old Deeniquia Dodds of Washington, D.C. became the 15th trans woman to be murdered in 2016. After being shot in the neck by an unidentified attacker and discovered in critical condition by a pedestrian early in the morning on July 4, Dodds spent nine days in the hospital before ultimately succumbing to her injuries. It took the police over a week to disclose that Dodds was trans, using her assigned birth name and gender in police reports describing the incident, which is not being investigated as a hate crime.

This is, sadly, more than typical of how law enforcement handles targeted acts of violence against members of the trans community—specifically, trans women of color, who make up the large majority of victims. And these numbers are at an all-time high: of the 23 trans women killed in 2015, 19 of them were women of color.

With the recent shootings and brutality at the hands of the police, and the massacre at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, both the black and gay communities have received a (rightful) outpour of support on social media from celebrities around the world. So why hasn't the trans community received the same treatment?

Deeniquia Dodds

With recent steps forward for the trans community thanks to attention raised by pop culture pioneers like Laverne Cox, Hari Nef, and the Wachowski sisters, it's tempting to think that things are getting better for trans people, but that's the thing about inclusion: it's often illusory, and treated as a substitute for support in other critical areas. In the case of fashion specifically, it's commendable that more magazines and designers are featuring trans models and supporting non-binary aestheticism, but if they're speaking up about Philando Castile and Alton Sterling, then why can't they do the same for Deeniquia Dodds?

History shows us that visibility is a crucial first step for any disenfranchised minority, but when gun violence is at an all-time high and lives are being lost every day, we cannot afford the same slow pace of progress that this country has witnessed in media and cultural politics over the last century. Representation alone is not enough.

So say their names, and say them loud. These are the trans women murdered so far this year, according to Autostraddle: Monica Loera, Jasmine Sierra, Kayden Clarke, Veronica Banks, Maya Young, Demarkis Stansberry, Kedarie/Kandicee Johnson, Kourtney Yochum, Shante Thompson, Keyonna Blakeney, Reecy Walker, Mercedes Successful, Amos Beede, Goddess Diamond, and Deeniquia Dodds.

To find out how you can help fight violence and discrimination, visit transequality.org. Anyone with information about Dodds specifically is asked to call police at 202-727-9099. Information also can be submitted anonymously by sending a text message to 50411. A reward for as much as $25,000 is offered.

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