The Trans Day of Visibility is dedicated to celebrating the accomplishments of Trans and gender nonconforming people while raising awareness of the work that still needs to be done to achieve justice. Today we would like to highlight the cases we have been working on and have assisted with over the past few months, as well as the individuals and organizations who we have collaborated with on them.
The majority of the people and organizations who are actually doing this work are Trans and Trans-Led. Larger, Cis-lead organizations regularly get credit for work that a grassroots, loosely affiliated group of Trans people and organizations are actually doing, with no recognition that we are even involved in the cases. They use our work for their own benefit regularly, getting accolades and soliciting donations that do not actually go towards the actual organizations or individuals doing the work. Even within our own work, we are often treated as invisible, disposable, and unimportant except for how what we do can benefit cis people.
The Trans cases that we work on so often have low visibility. This impacts how many official resources are available to help solve these cases, and results in less community support, less grass roots efforts to find or solve these cases, and an overall generalized deprioritzation. This all culminates in missing, murdered, and unidentified persons cases involving Trans and gender expansive people to be unsolved for longer than they should be, and very little impetus to solve them.
We have been contacted by the family members, friends, community organizations, and missing persons advocates from around the United States regarding multiple Transgender, gender non-conforming, gay, lesbian, and bisexual people who have gone missing or who were murdered. Some of these cases are:
Isa Dessalines -Black Trans woman was stalked and abducted, found safe.
Tatiana Labelle – Missing Black Trans Woman found murdered in Chicago. (Additional article from People Magazine with TDTF statement)
Katrina Turner – Shot in the back of the head, survived.
Luis Encarnacion-Saez – Found dead in his house in Feb. 2022, his van has been stolen and not located – via social media
H. Cooper – Missing from WA, found Safe
Tank Evans – Missing gay man from Georgia
Casandra Johnson Escalante – Missing from San Francisco, via social media
Kenyatta or Peaches Mitchell – Black Trans woman Missing in NYC after 9/11, via social media
Amari Paquette – Missing, located safe
Jason Fox – Murder of Gay teen, believed by family and friends to be a hate crime
Beau Mann – Missing from Studio City, CA
Kasie Ann Price – Missing in Texas
Melissa Clark – Missing, found safe
Angel Haines – Missing, found safe
Jayce Jaquee Pezzelle – Missing from Albuquerque, NM, via family member contact
Deejay De’Mary and Emonnee Sommerville – Missing, both found safe
Katheryn Newhouse -Trans teen, Murdered by her father who committed suicide
Kimberley Faye Gsell – Missing from PA
Dominik Monroe – Missing, Found Safe
S. Alverio – Latinx Trans woman Missing from Missouri, via database searches
Colten Pratt – Indigenous Two Spirit Trans man missing from Winnipeg, Canada
Julia Da Silva – Missing, Found Safe
Eodis Harris III – Missing in Texas
Paula Del Mundo – Trans Filipina Missing from the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport
Aubrey Dameron – Indigenous 2 Spirit Trans Woman missing from Grove, OK
Kimberly Avila – Latinx Trans woman missing in Texas
Sacoya Cooper – Black Trans woman missing in Ohio.
Additionally, we have worked on the cases of over 20 missing Trans and gender diverse minors who we have found in various databases. We generally do not publicly post about these cases because of their extraordinary vulnerability, but we do monitor them, and attempt to ensure that they are also included in the NamUs database.
Kentucky Doe – The TDTF are working on a case from Kentucky. Announcement coming soon!
Harris County Texas Doe, 2019 – Anthony created forensic art, and the TDTF will be funding the lab processes thanks to a generous grant, and will be performing forensic genetic genealogy to ascertain the identity of this unidentified person.
Rhode Island Doe – The TDTF consulted on a case of a Doe found in Rhode Island; details withheld
California Doe – The TDTF consulted on a case of a gender variant doe found in California; details withheld
When we are searching for cases within official sources and databases, we often have to expend much more time and energy to even find Trans and Gender expansive persons cases because of the lack of standardization across multiple systems, media, etc. This results in an enormous amount of work on ours and other organization’s parts just to get the same information that is regularly included as a standard in cases involving cis gender individuals. When we do get all of the information we need, we still find that the information will be shared less in traditional and social media.
Posts on social media regarding Trans and gender expansive people will see the comments sections flooded with inappropriate and transphobic comments, to the point where the posts will be shut down or deleted. Because of these comments, people will be less likely to share the posts. Family and friends of the missing or murdered Trans person will see those posts and get the message that they are not going to get help and that their loved one isn’t important. Trans members of these groups are shouted down and harassed even on their own pages for speaking up about the harm this does to our community, or how inappropriate these comments are.
For missing Trans and gender variant people, major missing persons organizations have standard operating procedures that negatively affect Trans cases. They also have seemingly no desire to fix those systems or address them in any way, even after repeated communication from us explaining what is wrong and how those problems can be fixed to be more supportive and effective. There is not a lot of pressure for these organizations to change, because Trans and gender variant people are treated as invisible anomalies whose very identities are up for debate, and can also be safely ignored without much pushback.
We would also like to acknowledge some of the people and groups who we work with and who deserve recognition for the incredibly hard work they do for our community:
Trans Violence News Group