The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs ( NCAVP ) is deeply concerned about two unsolved homicides of transgender women that occurred in the past week, both in Cleveland, Ohio, and which continue a disturbing trend of homicides of transgender and gender non-conforming ( TGNC ) people and TGNC people of color in the past few years. This is also the second and third homicide of a transgender woman in Ohio this year. Two of the three homicide victims were women of color, reflecting a national trend of violence against transgender women of color.
According to local media accounts, the most recent victims are Betty Skinner, age 52, who was discovered beaten to death in her apartment Thursday, December 5th, and Brittany Nicole Kidd Stergis, age 22, found shot to death inside a car on Friday, December 6th. In April of this year, another transgender woman, CeCe Dove, was found in Olmstead Township, near Cleveland.
The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs ( NCAVP ) most recent report, Hate Violence Against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer ( LGBTQ ) and HIV-Affected Communities in the United States in 2012, documented 25 anti-LGBTQ murders. 53.8% of all anti-LGBTQ homicide victims in 2012 were transgender women and 73.1% were people of color. So far, in 2013, NCAVP has documented the homicide of 14 transgender women nationally.
"Each year, NCAVP tracks the homicides of LGBTQ people in the U.S. in which a motive is known. However, for many LGBTQ homicide victims, especially transgender women and people of color who are disproportionally affected by violence, a motive is never determined," said Chai Jindasurat, Co-Director of Community Organizing and Public Advocacy at the New York City Anti-Violence Project. "This year we have already seen 14 homicides of transgender women, and in many cases, a motive for their deaths is still unknown. We are calling on community members and leaders to prioritize violence against transgender people of color as a critical issue and join NCAVP in our work to end this violence."
NCAVP is working with local NCAVP member organization Buckeye Regional Anti-Violence Organization ( BRAVO ) in Columbus, Ohio to raise awareness of these unsolved homicides and to support the local communities affected by this violence.
"The homicides of Betty Skinner and Brittany Nicole Kidd Stergis mark the second and third homicide of transwomen in Ohio this year," said Aaron Eckhardt, Training and Technical Assistance Director of BRAVO. "We know that our transgender sisters, brothers, and siblings are dying at historically alarming rates. We can and we will continue working to eliminate violence perpetrated against transgender women."
NCAVP is concerned by inaccurate media accounts of these homicides, especially the mis-gendering of the victims. To report news reports about anti-LGBTQ violence that are problematic or defamatory in any way, please report it to GLAAD.
NCAVP is a resource for anyone who experiences violence. For more information, or to locate an antiviolence program in your area, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit us online. Join NCAVP in our efforts to prevent and respond to LGBTQ and HIV-affected violence. To learn more about our national advocacy and receive technical assistance or support, contact us at email@example.com .