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.
County of Residence: Allegheny. I lived in my youth in Cambridge, MA, Bonn, Germany, New Haven CT and Oxford England.
Preferred Pronouns: She, her hers
How do you describe your identity? I am bisexual in my sexual orientation and cisgender but mildly gender non-conforming in my gender presentation.
Here’s my annual roundup of toy distribution resources for Western Pennsylvania. Many Toys for Tots enrollment deadlines are right around the corner while other sites have not yet posted. Please share this information with anyone you know who may need assistance with toys this holiday season.
I will update this post as more information becomes available.
In June 2015, we added this question to the Q&A
“What motivated you to take part in this project?”
The responses have been enlightening when I consider why people take 30-60 minutes to share some of their most personal thoughts with the wide world. Their investment isn’t fleeting – the Q&A will live on as our archived collective experiences.
“I particularly wanted to participate because I wanted an older perspective to be included.”
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.
County of Residence: Allegheny County
Preferred Pronouns: He/Him
How do you describe your identity? Cis White Male Bisexual
Please describe your coming out experience. Where did you find support? What challenges did you face? When I came out, my mom took away my computer for the summer (I came out right at the end of the school year), saying that she was taking it away because of my “porn addiction” and that her taking it away on the same day I came out was coincidental. When I got my computer back for the school year, she installed a religious filter on my computer called Covenant Eyes.
We want to keep growing and we especially want to begin offering audio recording options to conduct interviews with community elders as well as others who have limited access to the Internet. We have connected with a lesbian owned transcription service based in Johnstown, PA, but it will still cost $125-250 per interview. That’s one reason we ask people to try to use the online form if possible.
During October, we are again crowdfunding for the project – we hope to raise $3,000 so we can schedule the audio sessions throughout the winter. The funds will be used to set up “AMPLIFY Info” sessions in the outlying counties so we can meet people & encourage them to participate as well as to set up the actual recording times. And, of course, pay for the transcription.
We’ve been invited to New Castle (Lawrence County), Johnstown (Cambria County), Bradford (McKean County), as well as Armstrong, Beaver, Butler and Clearfield counties. If you need a little encouragement, consider this story from Melanie (a Trump supporter) who lives in Washington County.
Kristene Chapa, then 18, and girlfriend Mollie Olgin, then 19, stopped by a park on their way to see a movie on June 23, 2012. A horrifying encounter with a stranger ended with both young women sexually assaulted and shot, left for dead in that park. Olgin died of her injuries, but Kristene Chapa survived and took the stand to testify against David Strickland more than four years later.
It took the jury less than six hours to return a guilty verdict. Four years, 3 months and six hours after their horrible ordeal, there was finally some justice for Mollie and Kristene and, hopefully, some closure for Kristene.
County of Residence: Allegheny
Preferred Pronouns: Male, He, Gay.
How do you describe your identity? Gay male with asexual tendencies in a polyamourus relationship
Please describe your coming out experience. Where did you find support? What challenges did you face? Coming out was a matter of lie, deny or try. I was outed by a female friend that had a crush on me in 8th grade. She decided to tell the only out gay male in our class / school – which led to everyone soon bringing the question up to me & family members. At the time I was seeing a fellow classmate on the wrestling team. He denied and I chose to try and not lie.
How would you describe yourself NOW in terms of “being out”? After experiencing much in the strictly male “gay world” I now prefer to be associated with a queer community than just men. There has been more open arms, plus understanding amongst a community made up of all genders + sexualities & identifications. Not just one orientation alienating my personal views.
The Washington Post ran a powerful piece that has gone viral these past 24 hours, a profile of a Brownsville woman who supports Donald Trump. Melanie’s story is painful and resonates very deeply – she’s struggled with anxiety, sexual harassment in the workplace, poverty, and the pain of her courtroom victory around the harassment being […]