Unfinished Lives

Remembering LGBT Hate Crime Victims

Trans Community Demands Justice for Myra Ical

Houston, TX – Cristan Williams, Executive Director of the Transgender Foundation of America, takes the murder of Myra Ical personally.  “She died struggling for her life…She went down fighting and she was literally beaten to death,” she said to reporters for KHOU 11 News.  “It’s personal.  I feel it on a personal level.”  Hundreds agree with Williams.  Myra Chanel Ical, 51, died in a Montrose area field a week ago, and Houston’s transgender community has rallied to her memory.  Seven members of the transgender community have died violently in Houston in the last eleven years, and now the vigil organized to remember Ms. Ical on Monday night is being billed as the largest transgender event in Houston’s history.  The vigil’s organizers intend to focus attention on the plight of transgender people in Harris County and Houston as they honor Ms. Ical’s memory and call for neighbors in Montrose to share any leads they may have on the unsolved murder with police investigators.  While her slaying is not yet designated as a hate crime, police are certainly not ruling anything out.  Sgt. Bobby Roberts, spokesperson for the Houston Police Department, told reporters, “It could have been anything at this point. We just don’t have any motive whatsoever on this case.”  ABC News 13 reports that Ms. Ical’s body was covered in bruises and bore several defensive-type wounds that showed she was fighting back against her attacker(s).  Harris County’s Medical Examiner ruled that she died from strangulation by some sort of ligature.  Cristan Williams cannot get the horror of how Ms. Ical died out of her mind.  “That in and of itself was just a horrific way to die. Her last moments of life were sheer terror.”  Williams asks why none of the seven murders of Houston transgender people have been solved.  Police told her they have no evidence in any of the cases, something Williams attributes to the way anti-transgender crimes went largely unreported in the recent past.  Until the passage of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act this past October, local and federal law enforcement agencies were not mandated to keep statistics on transgender hate crimes.  Like the transgender population, these crimes were largely ignored.  Human rights advocates for the LGBT community are watching closely to see if the election of Annise Parker, an open and out lesbian, as Mayor of Houston will make a difference in how law enforcement and the media approach violence against some of the most vulnerable citizens of America’s 4th largest city.

January 25, 2010 - Posted by | anti-LGBT hate crime murder, Beatings and battery, Bludgeoning, Hate Crime Statistics, Hate Crimes, Latino and Latina Americans, Law and Order, Legislation, Lesbian women, Matthew Shepard Act, Media Issues, Protests and Demonstrations, Remembrances, Social Justice Advocacy, Strangulation, Texas, transgender persons, transphobia, Unsolved LGBT Crimes, Vigils | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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