WASHINGTON, D.C.–(HISPANIC PR WIRE – U.S. Newswire)–Aug. 22, 2003–LLEGO – the Washington, D.C.-based National Latina/o Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Organization–asks that the gender identity of recent transgender victims of violence be respected.
Bella Evangelista, 25, a Guatemalan immigrant who lived in Washington, D.C., was shot and killed early Saturday morning at the corner of Arkansas Avenue and Allison Street in the Crestwood area. Last night, two more transgenders of color, both African-American, were shot in Washington. Some news reports of the crimes have placed the victims’ names and words such as “she” in quotes.
“A person’s dignity is diminished, sometimes unintentionally, when their identity is treated as less than legitimate,” said Martin Ornelas-Quintero, LLEGO executive director. “We ask that the victims of these shootings and all transgenders be treated with the respect they deserve.”
Speaking at a press conference today at La Clinica del Pueblo, a Latino health service where Evangelista helped form a transgender support group, Ruby Bracamonte, a transgender friend of Evangelista, said that though Bracamonte was born male, “Today, just like my transgender brothers and sisters, I am a woman, and we should be referred to that way.”
“The real issue is that we’re being killed,” Bracamonte said. “Our lives are being taken away simply because of who we are. Please don’t focus on things that have nothing to do with the pain we have experienced in the past few days.”
Among the other speakers at the press conference were Lisbeth Melendez, LLEGO director of community education and training.
Two vigils were held at the site of Evangelista’s murder site this week. Fund-raisers are planned for tonight, Friday night and Saturday night at Club Chaos, 17th and Q streets NW, and Saturday night at Four Points Sheraton Hotel, 1201 K St. NW.
This week’s shootings occurred just over a year after the double murder of teenage transgenders Ukea Davis and Stephanie Thomas, who were shot as they sat in a car in Southeast Washington. Police say those killings, which have not been solved, might have been hate crimes.
LLEGO is the only national nonprofit organization devoted to representing Latino lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) communities and addressing their growing needs regarding an array of social issues ranging from civil rights and social justice to health and human services. LLEGO develops solutions to social, health and political disparities which exist due to discrimination based on ethnicity, sexual orientation and gender identity and which affect the lives and well-being of Latino LGBT people and their families.
202-408-5380, ext. 108