The transgender members of the LGBTQ community are statistically more likely to face violence such as assault, verbal abuse, and rape than other members of the community. They are also more likely to be killed. Transgender women of color are at even higher risk. Many trans folks never receive justice for their murders, and the families they are a part of are left massive wounds. Missouri teen Ally Steinfeld was 17 when she was murdered in 2017. Three individuals are being charged with crimes in relation to her murder: Andrew Vrba, 18, who may receive the death penalty for first degree murder, Isis Schauer, 18, and Briana Calderas, 24. The latter two helped to dispose of the body, with Schauer pleading guilty and receiving 20 years in prison. Calderas is still awaiting trial and was dating Steinfeld at the time of the murder.
To learn more about the case and its details, follow one of the previous hyperlinks. Gruesome actions were committed against Steinfeld, and despite these actions, the state of Missouri is not considering the murder a hate crime. The Sheriff considers the murder in and of itself to be enough, but Missouri law does specifically allow for stiffer penalties if the crime was hate-motivated.
Thus LGBT advocates are calling for its recognition as a hate crime. There have been murders of trans people in the past, specifically of trans women, that were not recognized as hate crimes or even as murders. Famously the death of Stonewall veteran Marsha P. Johnson was ruled accidental when she was found in 1992 after being missing for a few days.
At Victory Institute we promote the rise of LGBTQ leaders and help expand LGBTQ representation in leadership. Sometimes, there are potential future leaders that are never given the chance to succeed due to their lives being taken. However, those folks that are gone but not forgotten inspire us and others to do more in our work. More work for all LGBTQ folks, but especially more for the trans women that are bravely seeking public office right now in this political climate.
This blog is titled “Justice for Ally Steinfeld” but with the high murder rates of transgender women, justice is not fully served unless it is recognized that her murder was a hate crime. May Steinfeld rest in power.