In a Huffington Post Black Voices piece, Ja’briel Walthour, a transgender advocate and GLAAD People of Color Media Institute participant, addresses the recent attacks against transgender women of color like Lashai Mclean and Camila Guzman.
On August 1, Guzman, 38, was found stabbed to death in her East Harlem, N.Y. apartment. A month earlier, Mclean, 23, was shot and killed in northeast D.C.
As we lose yet another transgender person to violence, Walthour (pictured right) reflects on the injustice they face--something she, as a transgender woman of color, knows all too well. Hate crime data released earlier this month show that transgender women constituted 44% of LGBT hate crime victims in the past year, and people of color constituted 70% of the victims. In “One Day Our Change Will Come: A Call to Raise Awareness and End Violence Against Transgender Women of Color,” she tells her story and calls for more tolerance (and media coverage) of these attacks.
As I fulfill my call to duty, I am hopeful that my life will serve as a beacon of hope to other transgender and gender non-conforming people. I am also hopeful that through education, faith, and fortitude, someone else will hear or see the stories of other brave trans-women and men of color, and choose to love and support them, rather than ridicule and reject. There is a role for each of us to play, as we summon hearts and minds, tell our stories, and search for the inherent good in us all. As we seek to find this peace, let us rest assure that one day our change will come. Today that change begins with you.
The Georgia resident currently works with special needs children and has authored a children's book series loosely based on her experience growing up transgender in the South. Walthour has also appeared in “Injustice at Every Turn,” a documentary about transgender and gender non-conforming people who are marginalized because of their gender identity and expression.
GLAAD worked closely with Ja’briel Walthour and Huffington Post Black Voices to ensure that the stories of transgender women of color are elevated in the media. We commend Walthour for her willingness to share her story and Black Voices for their inclusive coverage. GLAAD urges our constituents to leave supportive comments on Huffington Post Black Voices to encourage the inclusion of transgender voices and lives.