Monica Loera, a 43-year-old transgender woman, was fatally shot on her doorstep Jan. 22 in Austin, Texas, tragically becoming the first known transgender victim of homicide in the United States in 2016.
As reported by Nina Hernandez, assistant news editor of The Austin Chronicle, friends described Loera as “funny” and “beautiful,” saying “she loved Madonna and she loved to cook.”’
The Austin Police Department has arrested JonCasey Rowell on homicide charges and he is being held on a $250,000 bond.
Monica Roberts, founding editor of TransGriot and a native Texan, is tracking the case and calling on local media to properly report on Loera’s life and death.
In 2015, at least 21 transgender people -- nearly all transgender women of color -- were the victims of homicide. The Human Rights Campaign and the Trans People of Color Coalition released a report and testified at a Congressional hearing in November with other advocates about the realities that conspire to put transgender people at risk of violence.
According to the groundbreaking 2011 National Transgender Discrimination Survey (NTDS), conducted by the National Center for Transgender Equality and the National LGBTQ Task Force, 34 percent of black and 28 percent of Latina/o transgender and gender non-conforming respondents had a household income of less than $10,000 a year. Forty-one percent of black and 27 percent of Latina/o transgender and gender non-conforming respondents had experienced homelessness at some point in their lives. When they attempted to access shelters, 40 percent of black respondents and 45 percent of Latina/o respondents were denied access altogether.
Numbers like this give transgender people of color few places to turn for help or protection, making them particularly vulnerable to violence.
To learn more, visit www.hrc.org/trans-violence.