Trans Woman of Color Mercedes Successful, 32, Murdered in Florida

Mercedes Successful

She was 32 years old which puts her among the older victims of the epidemic violence against transgender women  (and men) in our society. But still 32 is utterly young to lose your life.

Mercedes Successful was murdered, the 11th person this year alone.

Successful was born in Kingston, Jamaica and represented that country in the 2014 Gay Caribbean USA Pageant. The Gay Caribbean organization posted on Facebook “It is extremely sad that other humans can be so dreadful and take another human’s life this easily. RIP Mercedes Successful.” She was a frequent performer at clubs in the Haines City area and in the pageant scene, and was beloved by many, including people like Felix Ortiz, who said “Such a beautiful person inside and out. You were one of the funniest and one of the kindest people I ever met.” Successful had recently started transitioning and had been on hormones for a little over a month.

Mercedes was found in a car parked in a lot on Sunday evening. Initial reports reference nonspecific injuries and there is no more information as the cause of her death. Anyone with information is encouraged to contact the Haines City Police Department at 863-421-3636 ext.2235 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-226-TIPS (8477).

Blogger Monica Roberts has a beautiful array of photos from Mercedes performance history on her blog Transgriot.

I am so sad as I write this post. 11 lives lost this year to fear, hatred and violence. And each one further violated by the media and law enforcement determined to resist acknowledging the humanity of the true identity of these individuals. Even in their most vulnerable moments, we insist that we get to define people – even when we are supposedly seeking justice for them.

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For our AMPLIFY zine cover, artist Sam Thorp created this powerful sketch. When I think of protecting trans kids, my mind immediately goes to preventing them from being on the list of 20 or 23 year olds murdered in the coming years. I think of continuing to create trans friendly learning environments, resisting hateful laws and reminding our neighbors that they have to rethink their bias.  And we have to do better as allies and neighbors.


So we don’t forget those whom we’ve lost to these epidemics in 2016

Trans Lives Matter


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