Black Trans Woman Brandi Bledsoe, 32, Murdered in Cleveland

Brandi Bledsoe
Photo via Cleveland.com

It is with great sadness and anger that I read about the murder of 32 year old black trans woman, Brandi Bledsoe. Her body was discovered over the weekend near her Cleveland home.

Brandi had a job, a passion for art and the support of at least some of her family. Yet, she did not escape the cycle of unrelenting violence against trans women. She also did not escape being misgendered by police or the media, the final indignity that weaves it’s tentacle into almost all of these stories of the lives of our trans neighbors.

From Cleveland.com (note – they use her old name)

Bledsoe was found dead about 10 a.m. in the driveway behind a home on Drexel Avenue, near East 108th Street. 

She was wearing only underwear and had white plastic bags covering her head and both hands, according to police reports.

A 5-year-old boy discovered her body while riding bikes with his 12-year-old brother.  

Police also said she had head trauma. Cleveland police spokesman Jennifer Ciaccia said investigators will take her transgender status into consideration in the investigation. She said the investigation is in its early stages and it’s too early to determine of motive for Bledsoe’s death. 

No arrests have been made in the case.

Depending on which data set you follow, Brandi is the 23 or 24th trans person murdered this year, making 2016 the deadliest year on record. I feel like I keep retyping that sentence.

I’m also reminded of the first post in this (horrible) series that I wrote – about the brutal murder of Cemia Acoff also of Cleveland in April 2013. Her death opened my eyes to the terrible reporting on this epidemic of violence and the lackluster response from the LGBTQ community at large. Trish wrote a very succinct post about Cemia whose body was tied to a piece of concrete and dumped in a pond.  Cleveland (only two hours from Pittsburgh) has had a disproportionate share of reported murders of trans women, including the unsolved case of Betty Skinner. 

Rest in power, Brandi. We will continue to share your name, honor your life and seek justice for your death. You deserved better.

So what to do? There’s no word yet on a memorial or funeral arrangements for Brandi. So we continue to say their names and acknowledge our anger & sorrow.

Mey over at Autostraddle shared these suggestions

Please read these names. Say these names. Spread these names, and remember these names. But please, don’t stop there, please take action. Contact your representatives to get laws changed. Trans women often face the rates of violence we do partially because we can’t get jobs, we can’t find housing and we can’t get IDs that have our real names and genders on them. Talk with the men in your life. Most of the trans women who are murdered are Black and Brown trans women who are attacked by intimate partners, most of who are men. When racism, homophobia, transmisogyny and sexism combine, they form a deadly mix. Support the trans women, especially trans women of color, who are still alive. We need to make changes if we want to see this stop.

Here is a list of the neighbors lost during 2016.

  1. Monica Loera – Austin, Texas (January 22)
  2. Jasmine Sierra – Bakersfield, California (January 22)
  3. Kayden Clarke –  Mesa, Arizona (February 4)
  4. Maya Young – Philadelphia (February 20)
  5. Suspicious death of Veronica Cano – San Antonio (February 20)
  6. Demarkis Stansberry – Baton Rouge (February 27)
  7. Kedarie/Kandicee Johnson – Burlington, Iowa (March 2)
  8. Quartney Davia Dawsonn-Yochum (Kourtney Yochum) – Los Angeles (March 22)
  9. Shante Thompson – Houston (April 9)
  10. Keyonna Monroe Blackeney – Rockville, MD (April 16)
  11. Reecey Walker – Wichita (May 1)
  12. Mercedes Successful – Haines City, FL (May 15)
  13. Amos Beede (Burrlington, VT), 38 years old
  14. Goddess Diamond (New Orleans, LA), 20 years old
  15. Dee Dee Dodds (Washington D.C.), 22 years old
  16. Dee Whigham (Biloxi, Mississippi), 25 years old
  17. Skye Mockabee – Cleveland (July 30) 26 years old
  18. Erykah Tijerina – El Paso (August 8) 36 years old
  19. Rae’Lynn Thomas – Columbus (August 10) 28 years old
  20. T.T. Saffore – Chicago (September 11) 26 or 27 years old
  21. Lexxi Sironen – Maine (September 6) 43 years old
  22. Crystal Edmonds – Baltimore (September 16) 32 years old
  23. Jazz Alford – Birmingham (September 23) 30 years old
  24. Brandi Bledsoe – Cleveland (October 8) 32 years old

Erykah Tijerina

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