Amber Monroe Becomes 12th Trans Woman Killed This Year

August 10, 2015  |  

We’ve heard time and time again how trans women of color are disproportionately affected by violence. And sadly, another woman of color has lost her life.

Amber Monroe was just 20-years-old when she was found murdered in Detroit.

The Fox 2 Detroit news crew learned of Monroe’s death when “Orange Is The New Black” star, Laverne Cox, posted a picture of Monroe on her Instagram.

Later, Fox News confirmed and now the Detroit Police are investigating the homicide. Unlike, Cox’s original post, it was not a lynching but Monroe was shot to death.

Amber Monroe was a student at Wayne State University and was last seen in the 6 Mile and Woodward area, a place known in the trans community.

Detroit police says she was working as a prostitute when she was found dead around 5 a.m. on Saturday, August 8.

Transgender activist Julisa Abad, who knew Monroe personally, told Fox News, “A lot of transgendered women go there and don’t have support systems or employment. So they are forced to do whatever they can do to survive.

Abad said this was not the first time Monroe has encountered violence in the street.

“She’s been shot 2 or 3 times. But this time she didn’t make it. I’ve witnessed people pushed out of cars, shot, robbed- not a good environment at all.”

Abad said that while life in this area is dangerous, it is a bit of a haven for members of the trans community.

She said that people can help this community avoid the route of prostitution by promoting and offering resources to this at-risk population.

“I am blessed to have found Cass Community Services. They help with clothes and a range of other things.” 

Another organization that helps this community, Equality Michigan, says that resources help but prostitution will remain a problem when employers prevent people in the trans community from getting jobs.

Yvonne Sifred, Director of Victim Services for Equality Michigan:

“Our hearts are heavy with grief that we have lost another vibrant member of our community too soon. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all of Amber’s family and friends whom she clearly loved deeply.

We have no idea yet whether this attack was fueled by transphobia, but we do know that Amber’s murder is the 12th murder of a transgender woman in the United States this year, and the 10th murder of a transgender woman of color. Transgender women, and especially transgender women of color, are disproportionately affected by violence.

Her life was just beginning; I know that this loss will leave so many people with a hole in their lives and with more questions than answers. Let’s come together to celebrate her life, and work for real change so that our transgender sisters can be free from persecution. I know we can do better. We have to do better.”

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