Unfinished Lives

Remembering LGBT Hate Crime Victims

Prominent Trans Woman of Color Murdered in PA

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – A transgender woman of color was murdered October 11 at her Point Breeze home.  While details are few at this time, the killing of Stacey Lee, 31, has been officially ruled “a homicide” by police, according to the Philadelphia Daily News.  Though members of the transgender community are suspicious about the nature of the slaying, investigators say that there is no evidence yet of a transphobic hate crime.  Ms. Lee was found by her longtime lover partially dressed and strangled to death at approximately 9:30 pm on Monday in the second-floor bedroom of the house.  Ms. Lee’s lover, fearing for his job if his identity was made public, has asked to remain unidentified.  Since he has a strong alibi, the authorities do not consider him to be a suspect in the investigation.  He related to the Daily News that he had tried several times to reach Ms. Lee by cell phone on Monday, to no avail.  When he arrived at the Point Breeze home, he let himself in with a key as usual.  Ms. Lee’s five dogs rushed to him, arousing his suspicion, since the dogs always remain with her when she is at home.  The boyfriend discovered Ms. Lee’s corpse in the upstairs bedroom.  She was without a wig, tipping off her lover that she was not expecting company when she was attacked.  “She always has at least a wig on, even if it’s just to come down to get a pizza,” he told the Daily News.  He says he has not eaten or slept since finding the body.  Neighbors say that Ms. Lee was a friendly, considerate neighbor, someone they were happy to know.  Two male neighbors, interviewed separately yesterday, said they would often see strange, white men in nice cars coming and going from the house during the day, when Ms. Lee’s boyfriend was at work. Ms. Lee has also been identified as “Overall Mother Stacey Blahnik,” by the transgender education and advocacy organization, The House of Blahnik.  As Overall Mother, Ms. Lee held a post of importance in the organization. Founded in 2000, the House of Blahnik, according to its website, “is a nationally recognized lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community provider who specializes in the performing arts, specifically using its creative talent in the area of health promotion and disease prevention.”  NY Overseer Stephaun Blahnik & Vice-Chairman of the National Board of Directors called Ms. Lee loving, inspiring, wise, and encouraging. Though a hate crime designation is “not even in the picture” at this point for Ms. Lee’s murder, Homicide Sergeant Bob Wilkins says that no possible motive has yet been ruled out. As the National Transgender Day of Remembrance approaches on November 21, leaders of the LGBTQ community are preparing themselves for a large roll call of murdered transpeople this year.  Garden State Equality notes, “One of the most underreported tragedies in America is the disproportionate rate of murder and other violent crimes against our transgender sisters and brothers.”  Since no reports of stolen items from her home have leaked out to the press, social justice advocates and transgender leaders throughout the Middle Atlantic states are watching closely for indications that Ms. Lee may have died of transphobic violence.  A candlelight vigil is planned in Ms. Lee’s memory for Saturday.

October 15, 2010 - Posted by | African Americans, anti-LGBT hate crime murder, Hate Crimes, home-invasion, House of Blahnik, Latino and Latina Americans, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Remembrances, Social Justice Advocacy, Strangulation, transgender persons, transphobia, Unsolved LGBT Crimes, Vigils | , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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