Post submitted by Beth Sherouse, former ACLS Public Fellow, HRC Senior Content Manager
India Clarke was studying to be a cosmetologist. Her mom described her as a “good-hearted” and “loving” person, who “loved to laugh, [and] make people smile.” But her life was tragically cut short yesterday.
According to local press reports, which repeatedly misgender India, the 25-year-old’s body was found in a local park in her hometown of Tampa, Fla., with evidence of blunt force trauma. Police are investigating her death as a homicide, making India at least the 10th transgender woman who has been murdered in 2015.
Like the vast majority of the transgender women murdered in the U.S. this year, India Clarke was a woman of color, a group within the LGBT community that faces disproportionate levels of violence. Transgender women of color like India endure increased levels of poverty, employment discrimination and homelessness compared with other groups within the LGBT community, which can place them at heightened risk for fatal violence.
As the LGBT community celebrates the recent Supreme Court victory that brought marriage equality to every state and the transgender community sees increasing visibility from celebrities like Laverne Cox and Caitlyn Jenner, it is important for advocates to underscore that legal victories and visibility are only one part of our fight for LGBT equality.
Moreover, we must address the ways in which members of the LGBT community face intersecting forms of discrimination like racism and sexism –– and work to honor and celebrate the incredible diversity of our community.
HRC offers our sincere condolences to India Clarke’s family and friends.
For more information on violence against transgender people, visit hrc.org/trans-violence.