RIP Jazz Alford, Black Trans Woman Murdered in Alabama

Jazz Alford

Jazz Alford was 30 years old and a native of North Carolina. She was also a black trans woman discovered dead in a Birmingham, Alabama motel in late September. Alford was deliberately misgendered by police (and the media) as part of their investigation process.

Alford’s sister, Toya Milan, who is also a trans woman reached out to media to clarify Jazz’ true identity.

Police have arrested a 23-year-old man, Denzell Thomas for another shooting of a trans woman and he is now a suspect in the Alford case. The other victim survived and is hospitalized as she recovers from her injuries.

From LGBTQ Nation

The number of transgender people killed in the United States is an estimate precisely because of the frequency with which transgender women in are identified as men in reports of their deaths. It is often only after friends and family speak to the media that the true gender of these individuals comes to light.

I can’t think of any other situation where the police would deliberately allow such deeply inaccurate facts to be part of the story to protect the case. And if there was even a remote possibility that the murderer was responsible for multiple shootings, that seems reckless with regard to the safety of other trans women in the region.

How many trans folks have died this year? Some say 21, others 22 or 23. Those numbers vary based on who is included and access to concrete information in certain cases. But we are at or near the total number of murders in 2015. We know that most of the people on this list are trans women of color, specifically black trans woman.

Monica Roberts from TransGriot writes

This also makes 2016 the deadliest year ever for US trans murders.  It also keeps up the infuriating to me patterns of the majority of the victims being African American trans women, but being under age 40.

And yes, I blame the anti-trans rhetoric deliberately being thrown around by the Republicans for their political gain for the escalation of anti-trans violence.

I also have to ask the question when Black community, will our Black trans lives matter to you as much as cis Black ones do?

Note that Jazz was from North Carolina so it is not a stretch to tie the rhetoric around HB 2 which restricts the use of bathrooms based on gender identity to the larger rhetoric Monica references.

Rest in power, Jazz. Your life did matter and we will continue to work for a most just world.

Here is the growing list of trans neighbors lost in 2016. Please take a moment to say their names. And then take another few moments to think about how you can stand with trans women of color.

  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

Erykah Tijerina

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