Saturday morning 20-year old transgender woman Amber Monroe was found dead in her apartment in Detroit, a victim of an apparent shooting. Details are sketchy at the moment but, according to transgender rights activist Julisa Abad, this was not the first time Monroe had been the victim of a shooting. Monroe was a student at Wayne State University but had been supporting herself by working as a prostitute.
The motive for Monroe’s shooting death is unknown at this time, but transgender women have a significantly greater risk of becoming victims of bias-related crimes. Monroe is the twelfth transgender murder victim in 2015 and the tenth trans woman of color to be murdered so far this year.
The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs reports that in 2009 17% of bias-related crimes against the LGBTQ community were against transgender people and 50% of bias-related murders were of transgender women. 53% of all bias-related violent crimes were against people of color. While the Matthew Shepard/James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act gave the FBI greater latitude to investigate hate crimes against LGBTQ persons and mandated greater reporting, efforts in the Michigan Legislature to combat bias-related crimes against LGBTQ people have been repeatedly stalled. A bill introduced by then-Rep. Brandon Dillon in late 2014 would have amended Michigan’s Ethnic Intimidation Act to include, among other things, sexual orientation and gender identity. That bill – H.B. 5857 – died in committee and Dillon’s second attempt – H.B. 4164 – has been sitting in the Justice committee since February without action.
[CC image credit: Paradox | Wikimedia Commons]