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Florida is yet again proving that it’s not the place you want to live. As the home of justice not being served (Marissa Alexander or Trayvon Martin), Florida clearly needs a new set of laws.

In Fort Meyers, a trans woman of color was murdered, set on fire and dumped behind a garbage can. Not only does this tragedy make my soul weep, but it has taken away all my faith in mankind. Police identified the victim as Eddie James Owen, 31, but family members said Owen identified as a woman and went by the name Yazmin or Yaz’min Shancez. Fort Myers Police Lt. Jay Rodriguez said they have not determined a cause of death, and are not investigating the homicide as a hate crime. This isn’t a hate crime?! Nothing says hate like killing someone, burning them and then dumping their body like yesterday’s garbage.

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“We have no indication at this time to say this was specifically done because it was a male living as a female or anything like that,” Rodriguez said. “If you really think about it, a hate crime is killing someone for a specific reason, being black, Hispanic, gay. We’re investigating as we would any other homicide.”

“Transgender women, particularly transgender women of color, face the most violence against them,” Ross Murray, a spokesman for GLAAD said. “I think that transgender people are still marginalized and stigmatized in our society. We tend to talk about transgender people in a way that discounts their experience and makes them a butt of a joke or deviant or suspicious and doesn’t take (their) whole life into account.”

Shancez was the oldest of five children on her father’s side and began identifying as a woman “pretty young,” her father, Harvey Loggins said. “He was a good kid coming up and everything.” While I understand that Loggins is very much in mourning for his daughter, his use of “he” pronouns is troublesome. Shancez has been living as a woman since 2004 and it seems that her father, even in her untimely death, is still isn’t accepting of her preference.

No one, transgender, purple, yellow, gay, straight, black or white deserves to have this type of violence inflicted upon them. We are all God’s precious children and it hurts to know that we live in a world where people can literally trash those whose lifestyles they don’t agree with.

As if this story couldn’t be any more tragic, Shancez’s slaying comes two years to the day the family experienced another tragedy. On June 19, 2012, Shancez’s 16-year-old sister Cha’riah Owens was gunned down in a car with her boyfriend Jerrett Byrd, 23, outside of Gulfstream Isles apartment complex.

One day, these tragic crimes will no longer challenge our humanity. One day. Until then, continue to be the love that’s missing in the world.


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