Unfinished Lives

Remembering LGBT Hate Crime Victims

Transgender Woman of Color Murdered in Possible Hate Crime

Brandy Martell, 37, transgender woman shot to death in Downtown Oakland.

Oakland, California – As 37-year-old transgender woman Brandy Martell sat behind the wheel of her car early Sunday morning, the men who were talking with her shot her to death.  ABC7 reports that two other women in the car with Ms. Martell say the two men who attacked her had approached the car for a conversation.  The witnesses told News 7 that the conversation turned angry, and one of the men drew his weapon and shot into the car.

Many in the East Bay progressive community say that the murder was an anti-transgender hate crime. Oakland Occupy Patriarchy, and affiliate of Occupy Oakland, reports that the killer had “become enraged and shot her when he realized she was trans.”  A vigil in memory of Ms. Martell was held Sunday night for her grief-stricken friends and the Oakland transgender and transsexual community.  SF Weekly reports that one attendee, Holly Fogelbach, expressed the feelings at the vigil in an email message. “This morning,” she wrote, “I can’t shake the pain of what I saw, not for me but for that family and for those friends and for the people who make their living on those corners and will be out there again tonight while Brandi’s [sic] blood is still drying on the pavement.”

Ms. Martell recently worked as an outreach worker for the Tri-City Health Center in Fremont, an agency specializing in assistance to members of the gender variant community. She and her friends were out on the town, having a good time together when the savage attack occurred, according to ABC 7.  One of the occupants of the car who declined to be identified because the killer and his accomplice are not yet in custody, strongly refuted any suggestion that Ms. Martell and her friends were “engaged in the sex trade” or were doing anything other than enjoying each other’s company in Downtown Oakland.  “Everyone who is out late is not doing something wrong, you know,” she said. Another friend of Ms. Martell, Tiffany Woods, said, “When you don’t provide a space in society for people who you think are the other or different, especially transgender women, especially transgender women of color, when you don’t provide spaces for them to be in a safe environment or a safe space, whether it’s socializing or services, this is what happens.”

Police are not yet investigating this case as a hate crime.  No one has been arrested and charged for the shooting as of this writing.  Because of the slow pace of mainstream media coverage of this story, many in the transgender community of the East Bay are left feeling “nobody cares.”

May 2, 2012 - Posted by | African Americans, anti-LGBT hate crime murder, California, GLBTQ, gun violence, Hate Crimes, LGBTQ, Media Issues, transgender persons, transphobia, Unsolved LGBT Crimes, Vigils | , , , , , , , ,

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