New Orleans’ transgender community is on edge after two transgender women were murdered within 48 hours of each other.
Chyna Gibson was gunned down Saturday night, while the second woman was found with multiple stab wounds Monday morning, CNN affiliate WDSU reported.
No arrests have yet been made in the cases, which police say appear to be unrelated, but transgender activist Daphanie Dupree told WDSU the situation was scary.
“It’s scary because like a lot of the girls in New Orleans, they’re walking around like zombies, you know they have this little hidden fear that’s inside them to even go anywhere and I hear a lot of them talking about like ‘oh, I’m going to carry a gun,” Dupree said.
“It’s very heartbreaking and it’s scary because it’s too close to home, I mean it could happen to any of us but I’m like — we hang in the same circles, we hang in the same area just like it happened to them it could happen to me.”
One is too many
In a media conference broadcast by WDSU, Police Commander Doug Eckert said the two crimes in two days showed an increase in violence against transgender people in the city.
“I mean one is too many and that’s how we feel,” Eckert said.
Eckert told WDSU that there was nothing to demonstrate that the stabbing was a hate crime. “If we learn that it’s a hate crime of course we’ll pursue the charges of that,” he said.
At Wednesday’s media conference Eckert referred to the victim as being transgender woman but declined to name her.
Police say they want to speak to the owner of a two-door black Chevrolet Camaro in connection with the case.
The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP) said it had responded to seven reported killings of transgender women of color in the first two months of the year.
“As a society we can stop this epidemic by hiring trans women of color, making sure they have safe places to live and standing up when we see or hear them being demeaned and attacked and simply by valuing their lives,” it said in a statement.
It said another transgender woman had been fatally shot in Monroe, Louisiana, on February 19.
The Southern Poverty Law Center cited the Anti-Violence Project as saying the other four killings had been in Canton, Mississippi; Sioux Falls, South Dakota; and Toledo, Ohio.
Last year, the deaths of 26 transgender people were reported, more than any other year, according to GLAAD and other advocacy groups.