Trans Woman of Color Murdered, Set on Fire, Then Dumped in Trash

Illustration for article titled Trans Woman of Color Murdered, Set on Fire, Then Dumped in Trash

In horrific news out of Fort Myers, Florida, a trans woman of color has been murdered, and her body set on fire, then dumped in a garbage bin. I just can't right now, I just can't even.

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According to a local media outlet, the victim was identified as Yazmin or Yaz'min Shancez, which was the woman's preferred name according to her family, although the police reported that her documents had not yet been changed to reflect this. The same report quoted Fort Myers Police Lt. Jay Rodriguez as saying the police have not determined a cause of death, and are not investigating the homicide as a hate crime.

We have no indication at this time to say this was specifically done because it was a male living as a female or anything like that. If you really think about it, a hate crime is killing someone for a specific reason, being black, Hispanic, gay. We're investigating as we would any other homicide.

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...I'm sorry, Officer Rodriguez, but are you trying to suggest here that killing someone because they're transgender isn't a specific enough reason? Or maybe that the reason doesn't count because it's not on your official "hate crime" cheat sheet? If I really think about it? Jesus fucking Christ, sir, I think about it constantly. Do you typically see non-hate crime related homicides that end with burning the already dead body and then dumping it like worthless refuse in a garbage bin? Is this a pattern in Fort Myers which makes it like "every other homicide?"

Her father, identified as Harvey Loggins, said that he and his family left balloons and stuffed animals in the small private drive in an industrial area of the city where the garbage bin was located.

With the exception of her father (who continued to use male pronouns, despite his daughter's identity), the majority of her family appears to have accepted her decision to live as a woman, which she apparently began to do in 2004. Her aunt, Beatrice Loggins, spoke lovingly of Shancez, citing her uniqueness as a person.

Nobody deserves that. Straight, gay, purple, pink, white, black. Nobody...There will never be another T, you couldn't clone her, couldn't mold her.

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Cousin Jasmine Weaver seemed at a loss to understand the crime (you and me, both, Jasmine, you and me both).

We don't know of any person who would do something like that to T. It's mind-boggling. You'd never think that would happen to your family.

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Mind-boggling? Horrific. Abhorrent. And an altogether too common reality for transgender people, especially trans women of color. I'd love to shout from the rooftops that this is so horrible because it is incredibly rare. Well, it's not. It happens all the goddamned time.

And if this story could get any worse, if that's at all possible when dealing with such a terrible crime, this is a second heartbreak for the family. They have already lost one child, as Shancez's 15-year-old little sister was also murdered, gunned down in a drive-by shooting almost exactly two years before.

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I hate everything right now.

Image via NBC-2 Broadcast.

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DISCUSSION

abidabitoo
abidabi, THIEF OF JOY

I hope this doesn't come across as minimizing what happened or as denying that transgender people are very frequently the target of hate crimes, because that is not what I mean to do. But I can also kind of see where the officer is coming from. I have cadaver dogs and even though I'm a civilian handler, we're called on to assist in murder investigations sometimes because of the lack of resources in my area. I'm not an expert, but I have some education and experience in this sort of thing as a result.

Burning the body and/or dumping in the trash is surprisingly common in domestic violence murders as well as hate crimes. Honestly, it's probably because it is personal experience but that was my first thought when I read that description. I don't want to share the details but I've assisted with two cases where cis women were murdered by a current or ex-partner and their bodies were treated just like that, and several others where the body was either burned or dumped in the trash. And I don't even do that many murder cases; I'm typically called for missing hikers who have been gone too long to have any real hope of rescue, or accidental drowning victims.

I'm not at all saying that this is not a hate crime; I think it's actually pretty likely considering she was a trans woman of color. I just also think it is far from certain because sadly these things do happen more commonly than you'd think.