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Trans Violence Up in Nation's Capital?


The August 26 murder of a Washington, D.C., transgender woman has intensified outrage over antitransgender violence in the nation's capital.

In a daytime attack, Tyl'ia "Na Na Boo" Mack, 21, was stabbed in the Truxton Circle neighborhood by an unknown assailant and died shortly afterward at nearby Howard University Hospital. An unidentified transgender woman walking with Mack was also stabbed but survived. A police spokesman originally referred to both victims as "transgender males."

A vigil held two days later drew 200 friends, supporters, and transgender activists to the site where Mack was murdered. Washington police have offered a $25,000 reward for information leading to arrest of the suspect or suspects.

In an interview with Edge News, Lt. Brett Persons, LGBT liaison for the Metropolitan Police Department, denied that the nation's capital has seen an increase in antitransgender violence, but added that trans individuals "tend to be a community at risk for victimization all the time -- and that's a sad statement."

According to one estimate, six transgender women have been murdered in the city since 2000. In 2006, GenderPAC rated the District of Columbia as having the nation's highest rate of antitransgender violence.

Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, said transgender victims of violence "are almost always lower-income trans women of color. If you're any of those things in the United States, you're at the greatest risk."

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