Behind the ‘First Trans Murder’ of 2019February 1, 2019
On Jan. 6, Dana Martin was found dead in a ditch after a vehicle crash in Hope Hull, Alabama. The 31-year-old Black transgender woman had suffered a fatal gunshot wound to the head, and since then, no arrests have been made in connection to the killing. The media ceremoniously dubbed her murder the first of the year for transgender women, continuing a sensationalizing trend of reporting over the last few years of increased transgender visibility.
While media outlets were reducing her to a statistic, the larger LGBTQ+ community was in mourning online yet again. It’s become customary for reports on murdered trans women to gain a slight bit of traction with jarring headlines — only to be forgotten about the next day. In response, initiatives like the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Projects (NCAVP) are rethinking how they deploy information about slain trans victims, specifically in defining them by more than just tragedy.