laverne cox calls out florida authorities for misgendering murdered transwomen
She was responding to a report from ProPublica, which details how often trans people are misgendered and deadnamed after their murder.
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Laverne Cox has responded to an investigation into the recent murders of three trans women in Jacksonville, Florida, which details how they were continually misgendered by authorities following their deaths.
In a Twitter post on the subject, the Orange Is The New Black actress opened up about a previous suicide attempt, describing how being misgendered and deadnamed [the term given to when a trans person is referred to in death by the name they had before transitioning] would have been “the ultimate insult”.
“Many years ago when I was contemplating suicide, I was planning to have a note in my pocket at the time of my death and several other notes in my home which would state my name, preferred gender pronouns and that I should be referred to as a woman in my death,” she wrote. “My note would be clear that I should be referred to as Laverne Cox only -- not any other name.”
The murders of black trans women Celine Walker, Antonia “Antash’a” English and Cathalina James were horrendous enough for Jacksonville’s transgender community. All three murders are still unsolved. But as the investigation by non-profit organisation Propublica states, the way their deaths were handled by authorities has only caused further pain.
ProPublica notes that out of 85 murder cases of transgender people conducted by 65 various law enforcement agencies, 74 have been deadnamed or misgendered. This is a serious problem. “Advocates say that not using the name and pronoun a person was known by can slow down an investigation during its most critical hours,” ProPublica states. “People who knew the victim or who saw them in the hours before they were murdered might only have known them by their preferred name and gender.”
The average life expectancy for a trans woman is the US is reportedly 35 years old. In June this year, Ashlee Marie Preston started a campaign called #ThriveOver35 to draw attention to this statistic, and as “an opportunity to help black trans women reimagine ourselves somewhere other than in an open casket”.
“I have been saying for years that misgendering a trans person is an act of violence,” Laverne writes. “When I say that I am referring to cultural and structural violence. The police misgendering and deadnaming trans murder victims as a matter of policy feels like a really good example of that cultural and structural violence.”
Read her full statement below:
This article originally appeared on i-D UK.