Amber Monroe, a 20 year old trans woman of color, was murdered in Detroit this weekend. She’s the 3rd transwoman to be murdered in the past 17 days in the United States.
While details are still limited, Equality Michigan released a statement:
The body of 20-year old Amber Monroe was found murdered in Detroit this morning. Early reports claim that she was shot, but information is still developing and no details have been released by the Detroit Police Department.
Amber was a black transgender woman barely 20 years old who studied at Wayne State University, and loved her friends and Vogueing.
Autostraddle made some sobering points
These past two weeks have started to seem frighteningly similar to the first two months of the year when a trans woman of color was murdered every week. Since July 22, just 17 days ago, three trans women of color have been murdered. When I talked to [Cherno] Biko, she told me that she was scared, that it felt like she could be next. She said that “after the first eight weeks, we hit the ground running and we launched all these campaigns” aimed at bringing awareness to the violence that twoc face, and that things looked hopeful. Then “something happened this summer with India Clarke. In the last two weeks, we’ve had three (murders)… we have to do something to stop this because it’s only going to get worse.”
And then this haunting paragraph
Trans women of color are constantly asking for donations or help or places to sleep in posts on Tumblr, and usually barely receive any attention. Trans women of color often try to get money for films or books or other projects and are barely able to raise half the money that they need. Yet stories of their murders go viral. It’s long past time that trans women of color’s lives were valued while they are still happening.
Amber deserved to feel safe and to pursue her life without fear. That’s a luxury though. Have you ever stopped to consider how you feed into the worship/want them dead dichotomy? Do you have any trans women of color friends or connections on social media who are not famous? Rather, has your social media connection to Laverne Cox or Janet Mock inspired you to follow local groups and organizations and leaders in the trans women of color community? Have you moved beyond watching ‘Transparent’ on Amazon to engaging actual trans parents in your community? Do you actively support programs that meet the needs of actual trans women in your own community? What’s holding you back?
We don’t have many specific details about Amber’s death, but there is plenty about her life – her youth, her dreams, her hopes and her interests. And her fear.
There’s another thing to note – her friends and trans activists want to get Amber’s “real name” and images into the media before the police reports introduce her old name and other details that may ‘rationalize’ her murder. I’ve been following some of the discussion on social media as people demand real sources for the story. Real sources often continue the butchery.
I will follow up this post when more details emerge about Amber’s final hours. But I ask you know to think about the big picture, the story of the lives of over a dozen trans women who are part of this horrifying trend. There is some imprecision in the numbers – some will say 11, others 12 and some 13. My list includes two caucasian trans women. But just think about the fact that we quibble over numbers rather than the trend, the data over the lives (and deaths.) We should be turning to Gay Inc and saying “WTF are you doing about this?”
Papi Edwards, 20, Louisville, January 9Lamia Beard, 30, Norfolk on January 17Ty Underwood, 24, Tyler TX on January 26Yazmin Vash Payne, 33, LA on January 31Taja de Jesus, 36, San Fran February 1Penny Proud, 21, New Orleans February 10Bri Golec, 22, Akron on February 13Kristina Grant Infiniti, 47, Miami on February 15London Chanel, 21, Philadelphia on May 18Mercedes Williamson, 17, Alabama on May 30India Clarke, 25, Tampa on July 22K.C. Haggard, 66, Fresno on July 23Amber Monroe, 20, Detroit on August 8
Rest in power, Amber Monroe.