America — the country known as the land of the free and home of the brave — provides many opportunities for people of color, the LGBTQ+ community, and more minority groups. But this country also deprives a surplus amount financially, mentally and socially. Which leads to a troubling question: Does this land provide a home of safety and justice to all, or only to those deemed as free — the majority?
A night out in Hollywood, California turned into an unimaginable night of terror on Aug, 17 when three transgender influencers were attacked, robbed and ridiculed as bystanders did nothing. The occurrence caught on film and live-streamed turned into an ongoing investigation as no charges were filed due to lack of evidence. The police department recently released all three male suspects arrested, who were allegedly involved in the attack.
Eden Estrada, Jaslene Busanet and Joslyn Allen, affectionately known to their fans as Eden the Doll, Jaslene White Rose and Joslyn Flawless, were waiting for an Uber around 2:15 a.m. when the attack occurred. A man was harassing them earlier in a store before attacking them with objects and anti-trans slurs as bystanders recorded and laughed at the attack on the trio, two being women of color.
“I don’t care if you don’t like me, or aren’t a fan, or even hate me. No one deserves this,” Estrada wrote on Instagram, according to Elle Magazine. “Women like me get murdered on the daily. I recognize my privilege. I know how lucky I am. But what about those who aren’t?”
Unfortunately, this has not been the only or possibly the last reported attack on transgender people in America. Transgender people have been ridiculed since the start of their exposure across the globe. Transgender people were semi-embraced when the famous record-breaking athlete Bruce Jenner transformed into the news-breaking celebrity Caitlyn Jenner.
Though transgender people have been more accepted in today’s society, there are still many terrifying attacks similar to the case of these three influencers. It has been said that a trans woman of color is mainly targeted due to race and sexuality.
“Transgender and gender non-conforming people face a heightened risk of fatal violence, and Black transgender women are especially vulnerable because of “a toxic mix of transphobia, racism and misogyny,” according to the Human Rights Campaign.
These inescapable attacks subconsciously create a vulnerable population among transgender people as many are scared to live life freely the way America supposedly allows. This can advance mental health difficulties as hate crimes have increased 34 percent between 2017 and 2018, and the most reported deaths of 26 transgender people this year according to HRC.
A majority of transgender people killed in America are Black women. The death of a 17-year-old Black trans girl, Brayla Stone, on June 25 caught the attention of only some across the nation. Stone’s body was located in a car by a path in Little Rock, Arkansas, and allegedly could’ve been an assassination because Stone was a transgender person.
Suicide and attempted suicide rates of transgender people are also high in this country; many transgender individuals have experienced harassment, bullying or even family rejection. All of these factors can stimulate suicide, especially at a young age.
“According to the National Center for Transgender Equality’s 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey, 40 percent of adult respondents reported having attempted suicide in their lifetime — almost nine times the attempted suicide rate in the general U.S. population,” wrote journalist Gwen Aviles in an article for NBC News.
Even the current 45th president of the United States, Donald Trump, attempted to end transgender health protections, which leads to a lack of health benefits and financial stability within this vulnerable community. Though federal Judge Frederic Block blocked Trump’s attempt, the president has said he plans to end protection against discrimination in the health department, demonstrating the actual proclamation of freedom in America.
Despite the severe criticism this community is forced to cope with, transgender people and others in the LGBTQ+ community continue to demand justice for these unlawful crimes and social injustice against their community. They strive to get more recognition for their tragic stories from media outlets and the world.