Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Duanna Johnson Murdered

TTPC Reacts to Murder of Duanna Johnson in Memphis

It is with great sadness today that we must report the murder of Duanna Johnson in Memphis. Miss Johnson is the transgendered woman whose beating by members of the Memphis Police Department on February 12, 2008, was captured by a surveillance camera.

Memphis Police are asking anyone with information about Duanna Johnson's death to call Crime Stoppers at (901) 528-CASH.

The Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition wishes to extend our condolences to the family and friends of Duanna Johnson.

"We consider this latest crime to be a real tragedy," said Dr. Marisa Richmond, President of TTPC. "We urge any and all individuals with any information about this crime to step forward immediately so that the perpetrators can be brought to justice. It is also time for the State of Tennessee to add 'gender identity or expression' to the Hate Crimes Enhancement Factors in Tennessee Code Annotated 40-35-114 (23), and for the Federal Government to pass the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Act," continued Richmond.

This latest tragedy is just one more in a growing number of anti-LGBT hate crimes across Tennessee. It is also the third murder of an African American transwoman in Memphis in less than three years.

The Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition insists that the February 16, 2006, murder of Tiffany Berry in Memphis be prosecuted aggressively and that the courts reject the anticipated 'trans panic' defense.

We also urge the Memphis Police Department to step up its investigation of the July 1, 2008, murder of Ebony Whitaker.

In other parts of Tennessee, we insist that local authorities aggressively investigate and prosecute additional hate crimes including the murder of Nakia Baker in Nashville on January 7, 2007, the ongoing harassment of a gay man at his home in McMinnville, and the tragic shooting in the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church in Knoxville, and other crimes motivateed by hate based on a person's sexual orientation, gender identity or expression . All of these events show that there needs to be increased education across Tennessee about the LGBT community, and a more serious look at hate crimes covering both sexual orientation and gender identity or expression.

The Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition (TTPC) is an organization designed to educate and advocate on behalf of transgender related legislation at the Federal, State and local levels. TTPC is dedicated to raising public awareness and building alliances with other organizations concerned with equal rights legislation.

For more information, or to make a donation, contact:

Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition
P.O. Box 92335
Nashville, TN 37209
(615)353-1834 fax


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