Year's Third Shooting Stokes Fear in Jacksonville Trans Residents

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Three transgender women have been shot in Jacksonville, Fla., this year, two fatally, and the city’s trans residents feel they’re being targeted.

The latest victim was shot multiple times early Friday on a city street near Interstate 95, The Florida Times-Union reports. The woman, whose name has not been made public, survived and is recuperating, but the attack on her came just a week after the fatal shooting of 38-year-old Jacksonville trans woman Antash’a English. Another trans woman, Celine Walker, 36, was shot to death at a Jacksonville motel in February.

“The African-American transgender community feels like we have a target on our backs,” Jacksonville Transgender Awareness Project director Paige Mahogany Parks told the Times-Union. Both English and Walker were African-American; the newspaper didn’t specify the most recent victim’s race.

Parks accused the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office of “sitting on these cases.” Officers need to  “step up their game,” she said. The sheriff’s office has yet to arrest any suspects in the three cases or make any statements about possible motives.

English’s death was the 12th homicide of a transgender American reported this year. Most victims have been women of color, as were most of the 27 known victims last year. The actual number in any given year is likely much higher, given that victims are often misgendered by police and media or their deaths not reported at all. Both English and Walker were initially misgendered and deadnamed by the sheriff’s office.

Sarah McBride, national press secretary for the Human Rights Campaign, told the Times-Union that the murders show the need for inclusive nondiscrimination and hate-crimes laws. McBride also called for LGBTQ competency training for local law enforcement. 

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