I didn't know Muhlaysia Booker personally. But her death has broken my heart in so many more ways than even the deaths of close friends and family members. Because she embodies all that I have written and demonstrated and fought to defend in the struggle for equal rights for all.
Not only was she obviously a beautiful young woman, but a transgender woman of color, the most likely segment of our population to suffer violence at the hands of mostly men, but unfortunately often with the support of some women.
Muhlaysia suffered an excruciatingly violent beating not long ago that was captured on video, which I find impossible to watch all the way through and even only seconds of watching unfortunately inspires in me a violent response, including fantasies of vigilantism, like beating the beater to as close to death as humanly possible. Now, Muhlaysia has been found shot to death (not that long after the beating, but after the beater had been released from jail!).
The police at the moment I'm writing have no suspect in custody, nor as far as I know have they announced any suspects (the beater has disappeared, which should create some idea of who might be a likely suspect). The saddest aspect of this for me is that the men beating Muhlasyia and the women egging them on were, like Muhlaysia, African-American.
The deep-seated fear and disdain and even hysteria that too many men and women have in response to transgender women (and men, but women in particular), is too often reinforced by just about every social norm as expressed in entertainment and news (how often do these murders, let alone beatings, appear in any news you pay attention to?) and everyday conversations and interactions.
Time for a broad movement to defend and support transgender women.