The Trans Doe Task Force participated in the American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS) annual scientific meeting for the third year in a row, and our presence was stronger than ever. Many attendees stated that they were specifically looking for TDTF’s presence at AAFS because they use our resources already or had attended previous presentations such as the ISU conference (TRANScending Jane and John Doe). Attendees with the most interest were anthropologists, medical examiners and students of all disciplines.
See our posts about previous AAFS presentations from TDTF:
This year, TDTF staff had a poster presentation during the Anthropology session at 11:30 AM to 1 PM Pacific (1:30 PM to 3 PM Eastern) on Wednesday, February 23. Also, a TDTF-Centered symposium entitled “Queered Science: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Gender-Inclusive Research” took place at AAFS on Thursday, February 24, 2022 from 3:30 PM to 5:30 PM Pacific (6:30 to 8:30 Eastern) and was standing room only with somewhere around 180 attendees, not counting virtual attendance. A symposium is a collection of presentations on a similar subject by a number of contributors; essentially, a miniature conference within a conference. This two hour block of presentations were all on the topic of gender-inclusive methodology within anthropology. The symposium was opened with an introductory presentation and was concluded by a virtual discussant session. The gender-diverse discussant panel included TDTF co-founder Anthony Redgrave and PhD students Jaxson Haug and Taylor Flaherty. Attendees of the symposium were invited to attend an online meeting to take place at a later date for a more in depth discussion.
11:30 AM to 1 PM Pacific (1:30 PM to 3 PM Eastern) on Wednesday, February 23
We Take Care of Our Own: Utilizing the LGBT+ Accountability for Missing and Murdered Persons (LAMMP) Database
Authors: Anthony Redgrave, Amy Michael, Jessica Veltstra, Samantha Blatt, Mari Isa
University of New Hampshire, Department of Anthropology, Durham, NH 03824
Idaho State University, Department of Anthropology, Pocatello, ID 83209
Texas Tech University, Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work, Lubbock, TX 79424
Keywords: transgender, identification, gender diversity
Learning Overview: Attendees will understand the need for a queer-informed database for missing and murdered LGBTQ2S+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Two Spirit) community members and will learn how to use and contribute to this database. Attendees will also understand the limitations of traditional databases in the context of increasing fatal violence directed at LGBTQ2S+ people.
Impact on the Forensic Science Community: A variety of resources are needed to document LGBTQ2S+ decedents who may not be accurately reported in traditional databases. This poster offers suggestions for the use of a new database to expediently track cases, identify decedent patterns, and share essential information leading to identification.
Rising fatal violence and hate crimes against LGBTQ2S+ individuals necessitates a broader response outside of existing databases. The most recent FBI data on hate crimes (2019) indicated that 20.3% of incidents were committed due to sexual orientation or gender identity.1 Government databases and clearinghouses such as National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs) and National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), along with public entities like Charley Project (CP) and Doe Network (DN), are powerful tools for use in information sharing about missing and murdered individuals. Yet, these and other databases and state clearinghouses present challenges when researching or entering cases of LGBTQ2S+ individuals.
For example missing and unidentified persons databases lack clear guidelines for entry of inconclusive or uncertain sex, exclude selections outside binary sex, and lack input options for evidence of gender identity. This can both lead to biases and gaps in functionality within databases, and make it more difficult to recognize such biases. Further, deadnames (the individual’s name given at birth which is no longer used) are often entered and pre-transition photos are often used in media and databases, while their current names and photos may be excluded. Misgendering, deadnaming, and focusing on the individual’s assigned sex potentially exposes the individual to further harm and hinders case resolution.2
In response to inadequate databases, the LGBT+ Accountability for Missing and Murdered Persons (LAMMP) database was created to gather data with queer-informed and harm-reduction perspectives.3 LAMMP acts as a citizen-powered resource to serve the LGBTQ2S+ community by: 1) matching unidentified, possibly LGBTQ2S+ Does with missing persons reports, 2) identifying cases of possibly LGBTQ2S+ individuals based on available information, and 3) providing a comprehensive, searchable database for family members (chosen family or family of origin), law enforcement, and others to provide essential information leading toward identification.
LAMMP offers several features to ensure the privacy and safety of the missing and those reporting them. Case reports and information can be submitted to administrators anonymously and without creating an account. The missing persons component of LAMMP is private and searchable only to those with approved credentials. The database is intended for use by professional investigators and researchers (e.g., anthropologists, medical examiners, law enforcement), as well as forensic genetic genealogists, and includes fields for GEDMatch numbers of family members and related family trees.
This poster will present LAMMP case examples to demonstrate how the database differs from NamUs, NCMEC, DN, CP, and other clearinghouses in the following ways: 1) incorporation of data from non-traditional sources (e.g., Facebook posts, Reddit threads, activist organizing); 2) removal of the gatekeeping aspect of governmental databases as information does not have to be submitted by law enforcement, forensic professionals, or reported by family of origin; and 3) recognition of, and response to, the problems caused by binary sorting of individuals in databases, allowing for comparison across sex and gender categories.
Thursday, February 24, 2022 from 3:30 PM to 5:30 PM Pacific (6:30 to 8:30 Eastern)
times listed in PST