Yesterday, 25 year old transgender woman of color, Marcal Camero Tye, was tragically murdered in what could likely be a hate crime. Tye suffered a shot to the head and has injuries indicating that she had been dragged by a vehicle. Her body was found along side a rural highway outside of Forrest City.
Media outlets in the southern U.S. have been disrespectful in their coverage of the murder, using masculine pronouns to describe Tye, and referring to her as a ‘man dressed as a woman’ among other things. GLADD and many LGBTQ organizations have contacted stations and journalists to inform them as to how to properly report on transgender issues and individuals. (see above coverage from Memphis new station WREG)
Though the circumstances surrounding Tye’s death are still unknown, given that Tye was transgender and a person of color, it is very possible that it was a hate crime. While the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009, makes crimes motivated by the victim’s perceived gender, gender identity, and sexual orientation punishable, Arkansas is one of 5 states with no hate crime law at all.
Transgender people face well-documented and unconscionable levels of bias-motivated violence. This is especially true of young, low-income transgender women of color. The stigma associated with being transgender requires transgender people to maintain constant vigilance against sudden brutal violence. For years, transgender people have been murdered on an average of more than one person per month; many more have been assaulted. (from the national center for transgender equality)