I’m Taking a Forensic Genealogy Training

This is my 10th year of writing memorial posts for victims of lethal anti-trans violence. Over the time, I’ve tried to stay focused on the very original request from my friend Jacob, a trans activist. He asked me to write a “decent post” that contained information about the crime(s) but also acknowledged the life of the deceased person. A post that included an appropriate photo, the person’s lived name, the proper pronouns, and other forms of basic respect. A post that could be shared within the trans community for information purposes without intentionally traumatizing anyone and a post that would help the general population understand the campaign of terror.

Over the years, I’ve connected with other investigators and tried to stay true to my initial thought – listen to what my trans friends and neighbors say.

I’ll revisit this anniversary later in the spring, but this week a new opportunity presented itself for me to refine and enhance my skills as well as to perhaps do more forensics support work for the larger effort. I was offered a place in a 30 hour Forensic Genealogy.

I use DNA analysis and family tree building tools in my everyday life. I’ve been a family researcher since the mid-1990’s. I skew more toward the storytelling side of things and not so much the science side of things, but I think I could learn.

After I complete the training, I’ll volunteer more intentionally with the Trans Doe Task Force and similar efforts. I’d like to do more work around missing BIPOC women as well. I don’t know what that will look like except I will not be buying into tropes around sex work and human trafficking to fuel outrage over outcomes.

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So this was an unexpected opportunity that came my way this week and one I appreciate, both for the content of the course and the timing. Being locked out of Facebook for going on 12 days has been tough. I’ll save that for another post.

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