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Miami Transgender Community Mourns A Sister, Says "All Lives Matter"


In less than two months, at least seven transgender women have been killed across the country. Six of them were women of color. 

The most recent was Miami-Dade resident Kristina Grant Infiniti.

Infiniti, a make-up artist, hairstylist and performer known for her elaborate feather costumes, was found dead in her apartment on Feb.15. She was 46.

The circumstances surrounding her death are not yet clear. Miami-Dade police are investigating.

Credit Nadege Green / WLRN
Miami's transgender community and allies remember Kristina Grant Infiniti at a candlelight vigil.

Local transgender activists say these recent deaths highlight an epidemic of violence against trans women, particularly women of color who are disproportionately affected by domestic violence, poverty and unemployment.

On a rare, cold Miami night, about 30 people gathered at the Torch of Friendship downtown.

They held up candles while chanting, “Kristina’s life matters! All lives Matter! Transgender lives matter!”

They were there to mourn the death of a sister and to bring attention to the everyday struggles of transgender women.

Discrimination and Hate

“A lot of transgender women of color like myself face a lot of discrimination, prejudice and hate and outright physical violence walking the streets and just living our lives,” said Aryah Lester, founder of Trans-Miami, the first transgender activist group in South Florida.

Last year while coming home from work, Lester said men she didn’t know forced her into a car.

“I was taken into a car and driven off into a secluded spot and then questioned as to what my gender actually was,” she said.

A few minutes later the men let her out, but she said they warned if they saw her again they would shoot her.

According to “Understanding Issues of Transgender Americans,” a report authored by several LGBT advocacy groups, transgender individuals are more likely to “experience threats, intimidation, harassment, discrimination, and sexual violence” than non-transgender people.

Local activists acknowledge there have been some small gains.

In Florida, at least 21 municipalities or counties have passed laws that ban discrimination based on gender identity, including Miami Dade, Broward and Monroe counties.

Trailblazers like "Orange Is the New Black" actress Laverne Cox are redefining how people view trans women in mainstream media.

But Lester says the transgender community is still far from true equality and lacks representation across all major institutions and in politics.

Stop Killing Us

At the vigil in memory of Kristina Grant Infiniti, trans advocates and allies vowed to harness their pain into action to raise more awareness about discrimination and violence against transgender women.

This year, Penny Proud was shot to death in New Orleans. Taja DeJesus was stabbed to death in California. Yazmin Vash Payne was also stabbed to death in California. Ty Underwood was shot to death in Texas. Lamia Beard was shot to death in Virginia.

“Being trans, I feel like trans women, their issues are spread under the rug. That they don’t matter,” said Yesenia Infiniti, who attended the downtown vigil to remember all trans women who have lost their lives.  

During the vigil, Milancita Rodriguez  fondly recalled her 15-year friendship with Kristina Grant Infiniti and had had this message:

“Every life matters in the country. The transgender life matters too. 2015 just started, please stop killing us.”