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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, July 26, 2013 - Volume 41 Issue 30
NCAVP condemns murder of PA Trans woman
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NCAVP condemns murder of PA Trans woman

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Associate Editor

The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP) has condemned the hate violence-motivated homicide of Diamond Williams, a Transgender woman of color in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

According to news reports, Charles Sargent, 43, has confessed to killing and dismembering Williams in his home on July 17, after discovering that Williams, whom he had hired for sex, was a Transgender woman.

All too often sex workers, including LGBTQ sex workers, face severe violence and stigma in seeking services and support for the violence they experience in the course of their work.

AN EPIDEMIC OF VIOLENCE
In the most recent report on anti-LGBTQ hate violence in 2012, NCAVP documented 25 anti-LGBTQ homicides in the United States, six of whom were known sex workers - the fourth highest yearly total ever recorded by the coalition. The 2012 report found that 73.1% of all anti-LGBTQ homicide victims in 2012 were people of color. The report also found that 53.8% of the anti-LGBTQ homicide victims in 2012 were Transgender women. This is a considerable increase from 2011 when 40% of homicide victims were Transgender women, and continues a three-year trend toward disproportionate and severe violence experienced by Transgender women.

'We are seeing a multi-year trend where Transgender women of color and sex workers are targeted for deadly violence,' said Chai Jindasurat, co-director of community organizing and public advocacy at the New York City Anti-Violence Project. 'We also know there are many more homicides of LGBTQ people, especially Transgender people and people of color, which go unreported, and these already disturbing numbers might actually be higher.'

VIGIL HELD IN PARK
NCAVP has reached out to GALAEI (the Gay and Lesbian Latino AIDS Education Initiative) and the Mazzoni Center in Philadelphia to offer assistance and support the community during this critical time. GALAEI and Mazzoni Center organized a vigil and speakout for Williams on July 23 in Philadelphia's LOVE Park.

'We are sad and outraged - saddened at the loss of yet another Transwoman in Philadelphia, and outraged by the insensitive, inaccurate, and transphobic reporting by local police and media,' said Elicia Gonzales, executive director of GALAEI, a social justice agency that provides peer-led support to Trans communities through its Trans Health Information Project. 'Last night we united to honor the life of Diamond and to demand justice and respect for all members of our brave and resilient community.'

'We feel it is important to speak out, because the issue of violence against Transgender women is incredibly concerning to us,' said Nurit Shein, executive director of the Mazzoni Center, Philadelphia's LGBT health care and wellness center. 'Supporting the dignity and safety of each individual is fundamental to our mission as a health and wellness organization. Mazzoni Center is working with partner organizations to educate the wider community about the issues of violence and transphobia, and to reach out to Trans women in our area with as many resources as we can provide to ensure their health, safety, and quality of life.'

VICTIM FALSELY LABELED
NCAVP is also concerned about inaccurate media accounts of the homicide that refer to the victim as a 'male prostitute.' The group has been working with GLAAD and commends GLAAD for its media advocacy to ensure respectful reporting of Williams' identity.

NCAVP is a resource for anyone who experiences violence. For more information, or to locate an anti-violence program in your area, contact the group at info@ncavp.org or go to www.ncavp.org. If you see a news article or broadcast concerning anti-LGBTQ violence that is problematic or defamatory in any way, please report it to GLAAD at www.glaad.org.

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