Cleveland city council member demands the murder of Cemia Dove be treated as a hate crime

A Cleveland City Council member wants the murder of Cemia "Ce Ce" Dove investigated as a hate crime. Councilman Joe Cimperman said in a press release on Wednesday, "Too often we lose loved ones because of fear or hate. Violence should not be tolerated against anyone regardless of race, gender identity, gender expression or sexual orientation."

Ohio law has no protections for individuals who are the victims of crimes motivated by their sexual orientation or gender identity. In 2009 federal hate crime legislation was expanded to include protections for gender identity and sexual orientation, so if the FBI steps in Cemia's murder could be investigated and tried as a hate crime. The Buckeye Region Anti-Violence Organization (BRAVO) is also calling the murder a hate crime. Transgender women of color are disproportionally affected by hate violence.

This particular murder has gained much attention because of its disgraceful coverage in The Plain Dealer. Representatives from the newspaper have agreed to sit down with local transgender advocates and community members to discuss how to make their coverage more inclusive and sensitive. GLAAD also has a resource for media reporting on transgender crime victims.

On Wednesday a rally was held outside Cleveland City Hall to honor Cemia. A blue, pink and white flag (representing the transgender community) was flown along with the American flag over city hall.