The first trans woman to be murdered in 2019 has been identified as Dana Martin, 31, of Hope Hull, Ala., according to the National Center for Transgender Equality.
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Capt. Regina Duckett, of the Montgomery Police Department, said in a statement that Martin’s death is under investigation after she was found shot in the head late Sunday night. Her vehicle veered off Brewer Road in Montgomery and was settled in a ditch.
“Please note that MPD publicly identified the victim as male as determined by legal documents and forensic evaluation,” said Duckett. “For MPD, how a homicide victim identifies is a personal matter that becomes relevant to our investigation only if it is determined to be a reason the victim was killed.”
“That’s a sister, even though she’s not here to defend herself,” Daroneshia Duncan-Boyd, founder of Transgender Advocates Knowledgeable Empowering, said in an interview with INTO. Duncan-Boyd said Martin was loved.
“We still have a community in loss that is willing to defend her,” Duncan-Boyd said. “The justice system doesn’t know how to handle situations where trans folks are murdered. They always misgender, and when they misgender, it knocks the data off.”
Martin’s death so far has not been labeled as a hate crime. The current Alabama hate crime law does not include sexual orientation or gender identity, the outlet reports.
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“Dana Martin’s death is representative of the continuing danger that transgender individuals face simply for being themselves,” Rebecca Seung-Bickley, a spokesperson from the ACLU of Alabama, said in a statement to AL.com.
Crimes against trans people have been on the rise in recent years.
In 2017, a Human Rights Campaign report found at least 29 transgender people were killed in 2017 and 26 in 2018,
“This violence is hurting Alabama families and communities and we must all stand together to remember her and the other trans lives lost over the years, and to fight for a future where no one has to fear being killed for who they are,” Seung-Bickley said.