The other day I was home and turned on Wendy Williams; it’s fluff, sure, but kinda fun and a bit of background noise while I did some work. On this day, though, Williams was talking about that Cosmo cover of the Kardastrophes and how they had been dubbed, ‘America’s First Family.’
She made note that all the girls, and That Woman, were on the cover, but not Caitlyn, because, as Williams said, and I’ll paraphrase, “She still has her ‘member’ so she doesn’t count as a woman.”
I stopped my work, and went to her Facebook page and told her that because of her continue jokes about trans men and women, and her blatant transphobia, she’d lost a viewer — no matter how infrequently I watched — and reminded her about the likelihood of trans woman being murdered here in the country.
And the next day there it was …
Kiesha Jenkins, a 22-year-old trans woman of color was murdered in Philadelphia after six men beat her to near death and then shot her twice in the back.
Now she’s another statistic, another victim of violence against our trans brothers and sisters, and, for me, this is quite simply a Hate Crime. I firmly believe that she was targeted for being transgender and beaten and shot to death solely for that fact.
Sadly, though, the Philadelphia police who are investigating the crime seem to be focusing on robbery as a motive because the area in which Jenkins was murdered has been the scene of many robberies lately … though, not many murders.
And I wonder, how is it that five or six men jumped Kiesha Jenkins as she exited a car at 2:30 in the morning, beat her to within an inch of her life, and then shot her in the back as she lay dying in the street, is a robbery. Six men? Beaten that badly? Shot?
It screams Hate Crime to me, and should say the same to anyone with a rational thought in their heads. On this day, 17 years after Matthew Shepard died in a Wyoming hospital from the beating he suffered for being gay, we are still seeing members of our LGBT family beaten and killed simply for being themselves. And Kiesha Jenkins is the 21st transgender or gender non-conforming person to be killed in this country this year. That’s Hate.
The family planned to attend a walk for transgender rights over the weekend in support of Keisha Jenkins and her community, and set up a GoFundMe page to help with the funeral costs.
Carol Jenkins, Kiesha’s grandmother, had this to say about the gang of men who murdered this woman in the street:
"Guilt will kick in on them. When they sleep at night, their souls are never going to rest. They had to be cowards, they had to be dogs, to gun a person down like that."
And they had to be filled with Hate, not looking for a single woman with a purse to snatch.
I’ve said it before, but I’ll keep saying it: If Keisha Jenkins had been murdered because someone wanted her jewelry or her pocketbook, that’s a hateful thing. But if Keisha Jenkins was murdered for being a trans woman, that’s Hate.