GLAAD, Other LGBT Organizations Condemn Murder of NYC Transgender Woman Camila Guzman

GLAAD released a statement today with other LGBT organizations that stand in solidarity with the friends and family of Camila Guzman after she was brutally murdered in her Harlem apartment on Monday. We urge media to cover this important story in an accurate and respectful way.

“We are saddened and troubled by the death of another member of our community,” said Michael Silverman, executive director of the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund. “This horrible murder further underscores the violence transgender people, and particularly transgender women of color, face in their daily lives. Our thoughts and prayers are with Camila Guzman’s family and friends.” The statement is in conjunction with TLDEF, the Audre Lorde Project, the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, and the New York City Anti-Violence Project.

There has been little media coverage of Camila’s story so far, and that which exists is not respectful. “Camila’s friends and the transgender community overall are not happy with her portrayal in the news … We deserve respect and increased advocacy around the prevention of anti-transgender violence,” said Ruby Teresa Chavez, a friend of Camila.

Camila’s murder is another in a trend of recent violence against transgender women across the nation. In Washington D.C., police have reached out to members of the transgender community to urge them to be careful after two transgender women were attacked (one of whom was killed) within a block of each other in the northeastern part of the city. They are investigating the crimes as part of a “potential emerging pattern,” given their nature and location.

Moreover, a study released in July showed that transgender women constituted 44% of all the victims of LGBT hate crimes in 2009. People of color made up 70% of the victims. Another study released in February shows that transgender men and women live in extreme poverty at four times the rate of non-transgender people, and one-fifth of transgender people have experienced homelessness.

“These murders are a wake-up call for all organizations that work to end hate violence,” said Ejeris Dixon, a deputy director of Community Organizing and Public Advocacy with the Anti-Violence Project. City Council member Melissa Mark-Viverito added, “I am truly saddened by the brutal murder of Camila Guzman,” and reminded constituents that such violence will not be tolerated anywhere in the city.

GLAAD is working to urge media outlets to provide correct and respectful coverage of Camila’s memory. We ask our constituents to direct us to any defamatory coverage, and we ask media to tell Camila’s story in a way that reflects her accurately as a sister, friend, and member of the LGBT community in New York.

There will be a memorial service for Camila on Saturday, August 6, at St. Paul’s Church (118 East 117th Street, between Lexington and Park Avenues) at 5:30 PM.