Task Force Alert! Two Transgender Murders in Washington D.C. in Less Than One Week; Third Gunshot Victim in Critical Condition

August 21, 2003

The following is attributable to Matt Foreman, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Executive Director:

"Today, on the eve of the 40th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King's historic march on Washington, we have to confront the reality that in just one week, right here in the nation's capital, two transgender women of color have been murdered, another brutally beaten, and a memorial altar to one of the deceased vandalized. This is beyond sad. It is outrageous. Sadly, however, transgender people are routinely brutalized across this country, and almost all these attacks go unreported and unnoticed.

The only way that anything good can come out of these tragedies is if they are used to rally our community, our allies, and government to respond in positive ways - by helping the police apprehend the at-large perpetrators, by strengthening the District's hate crimes law to explicitly cover transgender persons, to get private and government support for transgender health and human service programs. These things will not happen if we forget this last week and its victims. We must not do that."

Foreman was a speaker at today's (August 21, 2003) press conference at La Clínica del Pueblo (information below).

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is home to the Transgender Civil Rights Project, which provides legislative and strategy assistance, including evaluation of legislative language, to activists and organizations working to pass trans-inclusive anti-discrimination bills or to add transgender protections to existing laws.

Lisa Mottet, Task Force Legislative Lawyer for the Project has been actively assisting local transgender activists in the District of Columbia by helping train homeless shelter administrators on how to integrate transgender people into shelters, by pushing for transgender sensitivity training for District workers at the Department of Motor Vehicles and other government agencies, and by advocating for the D.C. anti-discrimination law to be clarified so that the law is clear that transgender people are protected.

Also, in the case of Bella Evangelista, a transgender woman who was murdered on August 16, Washington D.C. media have been referring to her as "he" and as a "transgender male" when she is in actuality a transgender female. The Task Force calls on local media to follow the Associated Press style guidelines when referring to transgender individuals. The AP Style Guide requires that transgender people be identified by pronouns "consistent with the way the individuals live publicly."

Read the Task Force Policy Institute Report, Transgender Equality, in the Task Force publications library.

You will find information from La Clínica del Pueblo below.

Contact: Joanna Matthews, La Clínica del Pueblo, 202-464-0145



Thursday, August 21, 2003, at 3:00 PM an emergency press conference will be held at La Clínica del Pueblo, 2831 15th Street, NW with members of the transgender community and local officials to speak out against the recent surge of crimes against transgender individuals over the past week.

The site of a vigil held in remembrance of Bella Evangelista, a well-known Latina transgender woman who was murdered on August 16th, was hatefully vandalized during the evening of August 20th. Later that night, an African-American transgender woman was shot on 3rd and I Street, NW, and early in the morning of August 21st, a transgender woman was found dead in the 200 Block of Malcolm X Avenue, SE. The press conference will call attention to these recent crimes and ask the public for any information leading to the arrest of the individuals responsible for these crimes.

Representatives from the Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit of the Metro Washington Police and members of the Washington transgender community will issue statements, as well as Mara Keisling, Director of the National Center for Transgender Equality. Representatives from HRC, LLEGÓ, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Whitman-Walker Clinic, among others will be present to make comment.

************* WHO: Transgender Activists, Community Organizations, District Agencies and individuals engaged in human rights struggles in our community

WHAT: Press Conference and Speak-Out about Hate Crimes against the Transgender Community

WHEN: THURSDAY, AUGUST 21th, 2003 at 3:00 P.M.

WHERE: La Clínica del Pueblo
2831 15th Street, NW, Washington, DC


The mission of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is to build the political power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community from the ground up. We do this by training activists, organizing broad-based campaigns to defeat anti-LGBT referenda and advance pro-LGBT legislation, and by building the organizational capacity of our movement. Our Policy Institute, the movement’s premier think tank, provides research and policy analysis to support the struggle for complete equality and to counter right-wing lies. As part of a broader social justice movement, we work to create a nation that respects the diversity of human expression and identity and creates opportunity for all. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., we also have offices in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis and Cambridge.