Another Gender Non-Conforming Person Murdered


Simmie Williams, a 17-year-old kid, was shot and killed this morning. Simmie is alternately being referred to as a “cross-dresser” and a “transvestite” in the (already limited) press coverage. I’m having a hard time finding out details about what happened, since the news stories are simply telling me that Simmie was “dressed like a woman” and “he” had a verbal argument with two men (no info on whether Simmie identified as male or female, but the press is apparently comfortable choosing for Simmie). No quotes from Simmie’s family or friends. None of the usual humanizing comments or tidbits from people who knew Simmie. Just the usual identification of a freak, an impostor “dressed as a woman.”

Wonder why that could be.

You know, we could actually decide to do something about the Simmie Williamses and the Sanesha Stewarts and the Bella Evangelistas and all the victims whose names never make the papers, but instead our news media is bloviating about boys in the girls’ room. So you’ll forgive me if I kind of feel like throwing something right now.

Instead, I read Holly and I read Little Light and I cry. And I feel so, so ashamed of being part of a society that does this to people.

Thanks to Tatiana for the link — and for the simple statement that “People are assholes.” That just about sums it up.

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23 comments for “Another Gender Non-Conforming Person Murdered

  1. February 23, 2008 at 1:32 am

    Such a beautiful kid. Such a damned travesty that people can do such horrible things.

  2. February 23, 2008 at 2:07 am

    And I feel so, so ashamed of being part of a society that does this to people.

    I feel the same way.

  3. February 23, 2008 at 2:37 am

    i have few words for this.

    peace to him & his family, both chosen & biological.

  4. February 23, 2008 at 3:48 am

    I just don’t know what to say any more.
    Is this the fourth? fifth? in the last two weeks? And this is just who we’re hearing about on the news, when we bother to go looking.
    One more, and it will be another trans or gender-non-conforming person dead every other day. And these have all been young folks, too, folks my age or younger, and mostly of color. And all people identified as assigned-male and leaning toward the feminine.
    I just don’t know what to say any more. Except that I’m just about out of tears.

    You know, I hear all these stories about what it was like in the 80s and 90s for gay men, where it seemed like nobody didn’t have friends dying or dead of AIDS, nobody didn’t have a mourning list, it was this huge gash in the consciousness that everyone had to deal with. And that was a fucking disease. That was this mindless thing that didn’t care and didn’t have feelings and didn’t go looking for anyone, it was just this specter of death that didn’t give a damn. And here I am, 25, brown, a trans woman, and all I can think of it, I’m not scared of a disease. I’m scared of something that does care, that does target, that actively hates me and wants me erased. I’m not looking down the barrel of a random, tragic, indiscriminate plague. I’m looking at something that knows exactly what it’s looking for, and it’s not random in the least. It’s human beings doing this to us, not unthinking microbes. Conscious creatures, making the choice, over and over.
    And I have to think, yeah, I do sympathize with all those mournings, because how long will it be until it’s someone I know, someone I love? How can you handle those lists of the dead when it’s not a disease that’s killed them, it’s not war, it’s systematic murder? It’s one thing to live in fear of a force of nature. What if that specter of death is the constant knowledge that what’s killing your people is someone who can look you in the eye?

    So many, so fast. Sometimes it’s hard to shake the feeling that hate is just it. I’m just out of words.

  5. Katherine
    February 23, 2008 at 7:49 am

    From the Metro Weekly report:

    “The GLLU report of the sentencing cites an unnamed ”member of the community” as saying the defense claimed ”transgender people are generally violent people, so that is why the defendant brought a gun to confront the victim.””

    What the hell? Seriously, how does a human mind come up with this?

  6. ataralas
    February 23, 2008 at 9:31 am

    0. More detailed story here. Along with the further information that Williams was killed in an area popular with trans sex workers. Fuck.

    1. Jill, your link to LL goes to the story about Bella Evangelistas, instead of to her blog. Just fyi.

  7. February 23, 2008 at 9:50 am

    Like everyone else, I just don’t get it. You want to hate someone or something – go ahead, you have the right to keep your head firmly planted up your ass but you do not have the right to express your asshattery in a way that violates the civil rights or physical well-being of another.

  8. February 23, 2008 at 11:54 am

    I think the bigger message here is that attacks on transgender individuals reveals that parts of society want to entrench traditional gender roles. Just as feminism is a threat to masculinity – to some- so is transgender. We have a long way to go in this country.

  9. Hart in SF
    February 23, 2008 at 12:01 pm

    A remarkable kid, indeed. So courageous. Peace to the bereaved family.

  10. CBrachyrhynchos
    February 23, 2008 at 2:26 pm

    It depresses me that they are killing kids who were not even born when I came out.

  11. alicepaul
    February 23, 2008 at 6:32 pm

    Sorry if this has been mentioned already, but has there been a post yet about the murder of Lawrence King from Oxnard, CA?

    Another gender nonconforming 14 year old child (who identified as a gay male, according to friends) killed by one of his peers.

    I’m sick of the comments and op ed letters about how “two lives were destroyed” and people feel for “both families.” Um, I don’t. I don’t give a fuck about the asshole murderer, actually. No sympathy.

  12. February 23, 2008 at 9:32 pm

    There have been a couple, alicepaul. One’s linked in the above post.

  13. Mercurial Georgia
    February 24, 2008 at 11:11 am

    I thought you were talking about another boy, who wore high heels, and was shot earlier, after a long period of bullying. I’m upset that it is indeed ‘another’ so close to the last one. That there will be no ‘wake-up call’ for people to be decent, but rather, it seems, the lunatics are encouraged.

  14. Mercurial Georgia
    February 24, 2008 at 11:16 am

    Generally violent transgender people…you need to bring guns, or they will /bake bread/ with the blood of your children! Everything about every individual of the group is true, because the might of the people make it so!

  15. Mercurial Georgia
    February 24, 2008 at 11:23 am

    re: alicepaul

    That destroy me so much.

    Reminds me of how it used to be (?) when women were raped, sympathy is shred for the bright young men who will lose their future at the trial. If the boy is white, middle-class, and educated, he can do no wrong! If he rapes, he isn’t ruining her life, it’s her ruining his life!

    I mean, isn’t it sad that all those beautiful men of the SS fell from their positions of power and are sent into prison or hiding? (Sadly, it is primitively human that many people /empathize/ with the SS more than the inmates, because they rather identify with someone who was once very powerful, than people who had been dehumanized and made helpless.)

  16. Sharon
    February 24, 2008 at 6:21 pm

    I’m with Alicepaul. This is dreadful. My friend D had a dream that someone shot her lesbian daughter one night. There is so much violence towards people of color and GlBT people. If some killer was going around murdering preppy white boys, the people whould be howling.

  17. meggygurl
    February 25, 2008 at 10:22 am

    The other day I was trying to explain to my SWM (straight white male) friend that I’m *scared* right now to be out. That I am actually, actively scared that someone is going to kill me just because of who I love. That someone will freak out and go into a gay panic and kill me. I’m scared that I’m going to have to go back in the closet when I get out of grad school to get a job in the school systems. I’m scared that my car is going to get keyed cause I have a rainbow sticker on it.

    I am *scared* to be gay right now. And I’m just a lesbian.

    My thoughts go out to all those transgender kids out there, I can’t even imagine how hard it is for them.

  18. Rose
    February 28, 2008 at 8:58 pm

    I was just surfing the web when I saw this post. I opened it and read it – the whole thing. then my first reaction was that this must have been years ago. I looked again and I saw it was the 22nd. Of this month. That would be less than a week ago. I don’t know about you, but that scares the hell out of me.

    Blessings for the entire family of this poor poor child. He was too grown up for the world around him to stand.

  19. Mahu_ Wahine
    March 10, 2008 at 3:09 pm

    Aloha everyone!

    it upsets me to see how some people in this world feels they have the right to go around and act out on their hate and prejudices. I am from Hawaii, born and raised, here i am known as a MahuWahine the term used for Transgender. I just wanted to say that whoever is doing this to these young spirited beings should look into the mirror and find who you reaelly are, do not take out your frustrations on anyone else. I think this person is confused about who and what he or she is and fells inferior to those who found who they are on the inside! “YOU WANT TO TAKE OUT ACTIONS…..TAKE YOUR OWN DAMNED LIFE IDIOT!”

  20. Annette Bf.
    April 17, 2008 at 5:38 pm

    Uh…hmmm…I almost don’t want to say it, because it speaks to
    even more separation and division..but…
    Larry King from Oxnard, CA was not african american…Simmie Williams was.
    This could be part of the reason why there have been, as the article says, ” no quotes from Simmie’s family or friends. None of the usual humanizing comments or tidbits from people who knew Simmie. Just the usual identification of a freak…”

    The media picks its heroes and its victims. If its not a blonde
    cheerleader, then, any non-black victim will do.

    Question..what was Larry King’s ethnicity? It’s hard to tell from photos….I suppose it really really doesn’t matter..but to the mainstream media, the closer one is to looking like Matthew Shepard, the more press coverage will result.

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