'Nightline' Report Highlights Epidemic Of Trans Killings, Revisits Brutal Beating And Killing Of The Late Muhlaysia Booker
Reporters from ABC's "Nightline" aired a wide-ranging report about trans women, particularly Black trans women, and their struggles.
ABC's Nightline aired an in-depth report on trans women and the epidemic of murders that continue to happen across the country.
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ABC reporters spoke to several trans women and highlighted how hard it is for Black trans women in particular to find acceptance and love from their community.
Jazmine Deamon, a trans woman who was best friends with Muhlaysia Booker, said it is a daily struggle to avoid violence and ignorance from people. Booker was involved in a horrific attack that went viral when it was posted online. An entire apartment complex came out to watch a man attack Booker after a fender bender.
Following the attack, Deamon was the first person Booker asked for.
“I get her and I put her in my bed. I took all her clothes off. They were full of blood,” she said of seeing her friend following the brutal beating. “I just start praying over her… She pulled me by my shirt and she tells me, ‘Auntie, I told you they hate us… Our own people hate us. They want us dead.’”
Viewers saw Daemon visiting the site of her late friend's beating during the broadcast.
"The whole apartment complex was outside… and nobody helped her. It actually gives me the chills,” she said.
Booker spoke poignantly after the attack about what happened to her and the fear she felt from her own people in a press conference.Just weeks after the press conference, Booker was shot to death in Dallas.
“Muhlaysia was somebody's sister. Muhlaysia was somebody's daughter… Somebody's loved one. Muhlaysia Booker was human. She wanted to live like everybody else,” Deamon told ABC. “This happens on the daily. It breaks my heart. It’s reality. It’s reality. As a black trans woman, it makes me feel scared. I feel alone. I feel ashamed. I feel abandoned. I feel hopeless.”
Just this year, 18 trans women have been killed, and all of them are women of color. Last year, 26 trans women were killed and the majority of them were women of color. The report notes that the American Medical Association called the spate of murders "an epidemic."
Dozens of trans women told ABC about the horrific treatment they face on a daily basis.
Some people are trying to help where they can. Ruby Corado was highlighted in the story for her work providing housing to trans women in Washington, D.C.
"Casa Ruby," as the house is called, has become a safe haven for trans women in the area who are often thrown out of the homes by family because of discrimination. Unfortunately, two women who stayed at the home were killed this year.
“My job is to restore their dignity. My number one role here is to restore everything that has been taken away from them. We wake up in a world that is not designed to support transgender people — to welcome us in school to give us a chance to get an education. Employers are not eager to hire us,” Corado told ABC.
“They are the last two girls who lost their lives this year," she continued. "We continue the work so no one else has to have the same life outcome.”
The story highlights two groups dedicated to helping Black trans women: the Black Trans Advocacy Coalition and Black Transwomen Inc. Dee Dee Watters, a member of the Black Trans Advocacy Coalition, said it was a daily struggle to deal with the ever-present fear of death but that groups like theirs helped show trans women a way forward.
“At the end of the day, we are guaranteed one thing and that’s death. The reality is that when you're trans, the question becomes will it be gifted to us meaning that we die or will it be taken from us which is maybe that we are going to be murdered,” Watters said in an interview with ABC.
“Being in an organization that is specifically for Black trans people, it gives Black trans folk a chance to be able to see other Black trans people that are doing things that they can really relate to.”