A series of unsolved transgender murders are creating tension between the LGBT community and Baltimore Police.
According to a recent report from MSN, Mia Henderson, 26, born Kevin Long, was found in a Baltimore alley. Henderson had been beaten to death, authorities say.
This crime followed the death of Kandy Hall, born Ricky Carlos Hall, who was found in a field behind a post office in a “shadier” side of the city.
Kelly Young, birth name Rodney Little, preceded Henderson and Hall in death, and Young in turn was preceded by a transgender woman named Tracy, birth name of Lance Johnson.
All four of the unsolved transgender murders occurred in different parts of the city, and while Baltimore Police have said there are similarities between the Hall and Henderson crimes, they’ve stopped short of stating that the four deaths are directly connected.
“We’re very scared,” said transgender woman LaSaia Wade in comments to MSN. “It makes you want to change your routine.”
Kayla Gilchrist Jones, a retired sex worker, showed very little confidence in the police when interviewed for the story. Citing her own sexual assault in 2008, she said, “I wish I had never said a d*** thing. The first thing the cop asked me was, ‘What were you going to charge him?'”
While victims of sexual assault are typically not identified, Jones insisted that her name be used. Jones knew Henderson and Hall and said they’d worked as prostitutes, adding that Henderson “told her shortly before she died that she was trying to get off the streets.”
For the Baltimore Police’s part, they emphasized the fact that they are “taking this very seriously” in a recent public meeting.
Baltimore Police spokesman John Kowalczyk said “better relationships foster better police work,” adding that “Trust and safety go hand in hand.” Kowalczyk is openly gay and served as the department’s liaison to the LGBT community from 2008 to 2012, a part-time role that’s still in place.
In other transgender news, President Obama in July signed a petition protecting gay and transgender employees from company bias. The executive orders prohibited discrimination against LGBT workers. However, it only applied to workers in the federal government and its contracting agencies, with no additional protections to the private sector.
And while hate crime laws level extra punishment to someone who commits an act against a LGBT person because of their sexual orientation or identification, the measures are reactive.
In the case of the unsolved transgender murders, Baltimore needs answers quickly before another victim is claimed.
[Image via ShutterStock]