Keep Going

TW: depression brought on by loss and/or violence.

I’d like to take a moment today to say something a bit personal. This is something I increasingly don’t like to do in this space, as I prefer to remain more in the background and let the voices of those sharing their stories take center-stage. However, knowing that some of the people who read our blog and follow our work are struggling with the same or similar things that I am, I decided to post this publicly.

This is something I wrote this week that’s as much for others who are hurting as it is for myself: it’s called “Keep Going,” and it’s about living in the dance of contradictions that is the aftermath of loss and violence. It’s about looking for all the love and light still left in the world in spite of those experiences that have made it easy to believe there is none left. It’s about how we find reasons to make living worthwhile, together, just because we keep going.

Much love to Alice for letting me use and interpret her words to write this post. She along with many others have helped me keep going for many years.

I’m not going to lie: the past week, in spite of all the wonderful things that have happened and all of the wonderful people I am privileged to have in my life, has been incredibly difficult.

I struggled to understand how I could simultaneously feel so happy and yet so sad, sad enough I had crying fits lasting several hours for several days and could not eat a real meal for a solid week, until I realized something: this is the all-too-familiar dance of living in the aftermath of loss and violence.

Sometimes there’s a trigger. Sometimes there isn’t. Sometimes I just crash from the weight of my experience and the weight of trying to integrate it in a healthy way into my daily existence. People say time makes everything easier, but I haven’t necessarily found that to be the case – in fact, I’ve sometimes found the passage of time to be a terrifying, distressing concept that elicits an episode of sobbing for days at the drop of a hat. People say, “You’ve gotten through it before and you will again,” but that’s not an easy tunnel to see the light out of while you’re in it. However, this past week, one person in my life said two words that did help that I wanted to share with you:

Keep going.

Keep going, because although I can’t guarantee you’ll ever feel “better” about the things that have happened to you, the burden you carry will eventually lessen if you are able to notice all the light and love still left in the world.

Keep going, because once you start to notice all the light and love still left in the world, you might just realize that you are a source of light and love for someone who needs it, even if they won’t tell you.

Keep going, because light and love and reasons to live can be found in all kinds of unexpected places. There are people out there who are full of love and have an infinite amount of it to give, who give freely and selflessly without wanting something in return.

Keep going, because the world is brighter with you in it and would be darker if you weren’t. I know that to be true even if we’ve never spoken personally, even if we’ve interacted before and come to the conclusion that we don’t like each other. You matter. Your life matters.

Keep going, because even if you struggle with hardship, loss, the aftermath of violence, or depression, you are alive, and you should be. For those of us who feel guilty over the fact that we survived when others in our lives, or others in our position, did not, it’s nearly impossible not to question why it was so, and it’s something we can really beat ourselves up over. I don’t like the idea of surviving “for a reason,” but if you survived, I’m glad you did. I wish those who didn’t survive had, but it would be MORE painful, not less, if you had died with them.

Keep going, because we can be simultaneously healing and hurting, happy and sad, mourning and moving forward, brave and fearful, pained and pressing on – and to exist in this state of contradictions doesn’t mean we are broken, or not trying hard enough to move forward. It means we are human. It means something, somewhere along the way, tried to extinguish the warmth of our soul and failed, but left an irreversible impact all the same, one that still hurts and sometimes quite a bit.

Keep going, because it will be worth it. You will find ways to make living, even living with the weight of the painful things you’ve experienced, worthwhile.

Keep going.

I don’t believe in never crying. I believe in crying together. I also don’t believe in only letting people see or share stories of resilience, of strength, of overcoming adversity, of healing to the point where the loss or the violence rarely impacts you again on the level it once did. I believe, and I always have believed, in the power of the human story. I’ve built an entire project around that belief and included that phrase in every letter I’ve ever sent about it. I speak openly, and I share my reality, however sad or messy or painful it may be, because I am aware of the power in owning my truth. Because I know that there are people in my life who are experiencing similar pains, and whether or not speaking out is important to them, it’s easier to feel you can be honest if someone else has done so first.

So I’m not going to lie: I’m struggling, and at the moment, quite a bit. I’ve struggled with the things I’ve experienced for a long time and I can’t imagine there will ever come a time where I don’t struggle, or where I don’t cry. But I’m going to keep going and continue looking for all that love and light in the world that I have seen time and time again through the people who have invited me into their lives, if only briefly.

I can’t promise that everything will be okay – not to myself and not to anyone who may be reading. I can promise, however, that we are loved, that the lives we lead are important, that there is much still to love in the world, and that we will find ways to make living worthwhile in spite of our bad days – or bad weeks.

Keep going.

Author: Meg

The Week of Action 2015

TW: Murder and anti-gay violence, specifically: Rebecca Wight.

We’re officially announcing the Week of Action 2015, which is coming up in just two short months. The Stories Project team is in full preparation mode as we move forward and we’re quite excited about what we have planned for this year. All posts from prior years can be found in the archives under the tag Week of Action.

The Background
The Week of Action Movement was created by Meg in 2012. It had been building in progress for a few years before it took its present form and was influenced by a number of different events, from her discovery of a woman named Rebecca Wight to a similar event that she held in the spring of 2011.

In her own words: “This time six years ago, I was extremely unhappy, entirely closeted, and not an activist for anything in any sense of the word. I wanted to do something in support of LGBT people – my desire for activism was triggered earlier that year after watching a film about a gay man who commits suicide – but I was terrified. I didn’t know how to be an activist for LGBT rights without outing myself as gay. At that time, that was out of the question. But even then, I was drawn to the stories of victims of anti-LGBT violence, and that summer, I discovered the story of Rebecca Wight.

Rebecca Wight was a 28-year-old bisexual woman who was killed in an act of anti-gay violence. On May 13, 1988, she and her girlfriend were on a camping trip in the Pennsylvania portion of the Appalachian Trail when they encountered a man who proceeded to stalk and shoot them eight times from afar while they were making love. Her girlfriend survived the attack and went on to write a book about the experience. Rebecca did not – she died at the scene. When I discovered this story, something about it just seemed so incredibly sad. After becoming invested in her story, I decided I had to do something; I couldn’t just sit in silence anymore. Within the next three months, I had come out and begun to do activist work, both of which I give her credit for.

Fast forward to the spring of 2011. I realized that May 13 would happen to fall on a Friday, the same day Rebecca was killed in 1988, and thought, ‘I should do something that day.’ At the time – keep in mind, this was mere months after I was a victim of an anti-gay assault – I was also losing the will to fight and continue activist work, as it was starting to seem a hopeless cause. I decided to lead what I called a ‘Rainbow Vigil,’ a memorial for Rebecca and five other hate crime victims. That day, I made video tributes and wore six colored ribbons on my arm, each representing a different color of the rainbow flag and a different person, in the hopes that it would rejuvenate my will to fight and remind me that these people are the reason I keep fighting. The Week of Action Movement was built from this event.”

The Week of Action Movement
The Week of Action Movement as it exists now is an expansion of the “Rainbow Vigil” Meg took part in that spring. It is still a combination of a vigil and a statement that pays tribute to the victims of an anti-LGBT society, but instead of a small, quiet memorial for personal reflection, the Week of Action is dedicated to action and change. The purpose of the Week is to remember the past, to change the present, and to hope for the future. As the name would suggest, the movement is a week-long event that centers around action, awareness, and activism, in remembrance of Rebecca Wight and the numerous others who have lost their lives in a world that breeds hate and intolerance. It is our belief that we have a duty to speak out while we remember these people, as their voices were stolen from them and they no longer can. The Week of Action takes place during the first or second week of May every year, with the dates adjusted annually.

The Challenge
Our challenge to everyone who decides to take part in the Week of Action is to do something positive for the LGBT community during the week. Just one thing – though you can certainly do more if you like. Something that makes the world a little better and a little safer for LGBT people in memory of those who lived and died in a world where it was not so great and safe for LGBT people to exist. What this looks like is entirely up to you – it can be as small or as large of an act as you want it to be. Call someone out on their bigoted viewpoints. Reach out to someone and let them know that you are there for them. Write to your legislators to change an anti-LGBT law. Spread awareness of the violence that continues to happen today against the most marginalized members of our community. Whatever you feel driven to do for the LGBT community, we challenge you to use this event as an opportunity do it.

2015 Week and Themes
The Week of Action 2015 will begin Monday, May 4 and will end Sunday, May 10. Unlike in years past, the daily themes will NOT consist of a color from the rainbow flag and its corresponding symbolic meaning. Instead, because we will have guest bloggers throughout the week, each day will be themed with the topic each writer has chosen to post about.

Monday, May 4 – “Remembering Our Dead.” Alice will take the day to remember and memorialize all of the LGBT people who have been lost to violence, discrimination, and suicide.

Tuesday, May 5 – “Those Who Survive.” Meg will focus on the survivors of anti-LGBT violence, their loved ones, and LGBT people who are struggling by addressing such topics as mental health in the LGBT community, self-care, where and how to get help, and what it means to survive.

Wednesday, May 6 – “Making It Better Now.” Guest poster Khadija will examine the reasons why the “it gets better” sentiment rings hollow for a number of LGBT people and propose ways to turn “It might get better for you someday” into “I will do my part to make it better for you now.”

Thursday, May 7 – “The Dangers of a Movement that Excludes the Women Who Created It.”: Guest poster Jazmin will provide a history lesson on the true founders of the LGBT liberation movement and a critique of how its radical origins have been co-opted by the largely white, largely cisgender, largely middle-class, mainstream Gay Rights Movement (TM).

Friday, May 8 – “More Than a Martyr: Stunning Stories of Success from the LGBT Community.”: Guest poster Rebecca will highlight a number of stories of happy, successful, living LGBT people because, in her own words, “When all we have are the stories of the dead, it’s no wonder we want to join them.

Saturday, May 9 – “United We Stand (in Solidarity)”: Guest poster Aviva will discuss intersectionality and coalition-building among marginalized groups seeking liberation from oppression and what it truly means to stand in solidarity with one another.

Sunday, May 10 – “A Reflection on the Past, the Present, and the Future.” The details of this post are not yet finalized, but the general idea is that it will be written collectively by all six writers (and possibly others as well), who will reflect on the past and the present and look ahead to the future.

What We Are Going to Do
This year, because there are six people responsible for the Week of Action 2015, we’ve developed a rather ambitious list of ways we intend to take action in addition to hosting the event. We are challenging ourselves to complete each action on the list we put out of fifty possible ways you can take action – either each of us will try to complete the entire list, or we will try to accomplish all fifty actions between the six of us. We will put together a list of names and stories, re-share the Stories Project stories we have collected, broadcast the challenge through our clothing, and document all we find and do here, as we always do. We will also create an updated self-care masterpost, reach out to people who may be interested in participating in the Stories Project, and will likely come together to do something on May 13.

Other things we would like to do for those in our personal spheres include sharing relevant and uplifting quotes, comics, and articles, remind the people in our lives that we care about them through personalized messages, and signal-boost or contribute to crowdfunding efforts created by or for LGBT people.

Meg intends to share an update on the personal story of anti-gay violence she came forward with four years ago, reflect on the videos she took at her first Rainbow Vigil event in 2011, and give a presentation to a local high school GSA about hate crimes.

Finally, we are going to take part in a mini-project that will run throughout the event. We will change our profile pictures on social media to a photo of us holding a sign saying, “I am taking the challenge because (fill in a reason)” and we will ask those who are taking part in the event and accepting the challenge to do the same.

What You Can Do
Take part however you feel compelled! The movement is whatever makes it mean something to you. What is important is that we want to incite change and are choosing to act to make that change happen. If you are interested in the ideas we have laid out for ourselves, feel free to use them or modify them as you see fit; we will have a list of fifty more ideas out soon that you are more than welcome to steal. If you have an entirely different approach, go for it. Those who take part in the Week of Action are all working toward a common goal however they choose to observe it – the creation of a better society for LGBT people through deliberate action.

Author: Meg

List of Names (Week of Action 2015)

TW: This post is just a list with no graphic details; however, many of the links following each name involve one or a combination of the following: anti-LGBT violence, murder, suicide (including descriptions of methods), rape, police brutality, transmisogyny, victim-blaming, shaming of sex workers/whorephobia, misgendering, misogyny, racism, abuse.

This is the list of people whose stories we have cataloged to highlight specifically during the Week of Action 2015. These are 241 stories we were able to find information on, including those who were hate crime victims, those whose murders are unsolved, those who died by suicide, and those with an entirely different story to tell. Each year we compile a list of names to remind ourselves and those who participate in the event that regardless of the strides we make and the victories we celebrate, so long as people who are (and are perceived as) LGBTQ are at an increased risk of violence and an increased risk of mental illness, our fight is far from over.

That said, we strongly advise anyone who is currently experiencing suicidal thoughts or ideation to avoid looking into these stories in any detail or clicking on these links. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, the Trevor Lifeline at 866-488-7386, or the Trans Lifeline at 877-565-8860; text “start” to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741; or explore our Self-Care Masterpost instead.

Murdered Lesbian, Bisexual, and Pansexual Women and Girls
1. Cathy Thomas, age 27, 1986. Story. *unsolved*
2. Becky Dowski, age 21, 1986. Story. *unsolved*
3. Rebecca Wight, age 28, 1988. Story. *solved*
4. Talana Kreeger, age 32, 1990. Story. *solved*
5. Roxanne Ellis, age 53, 1995. Story. *solved*
6. Michelle Abdill, age 42, 1995. Story. *solved*
7. Julie Williams, age 24, 1996. Story. *unsolved*
8. Lollie Winans, age 26, 1996. Story. *unsolved*
9. Juana Vega, age 36, 2001. Story. *solved*
10. Sakia Gunn, age 15, 2003. Story. *solved*
11. FannyAnn Eddy, age 30, 2004. Story. *unclear*
12. Zoliswa Nkonyana, age 19, 2006. Story. *solved*
13. Madoe Mafubedu, age 16, 2007. Story. *unclear*
14. Thokozani Qwabe, age 23, 2007. Story. *unclear*
15. Salome Masooa, age 23, 2007. Story. *unclear*
16. Sizakele Sigasa, age 34, 2007. Story. *unclear*
17. Simangele Nhlapo, age unknown, 2007. Story. *unclear*
18. Eudy Simelane, age 31, 2008. Story. *solved*
19. Ncumisa Mzamelo, age 21, 2010. Story. *unsolved*
20. Noxolo Nogwaza, age 24, 2011. Story. *unsolved*
21. Mollie Olgin, age 19, 2012. Story. *solved*
22. Sihle Sikoji, age 19, 2012. Story. *unclear*
23. Phumeza Nkolonzi, age 21/22, 2012. Story. *unclear*
24. Andritha Morifi, age 29, 2012. Story. *unclear*
25. Duduzile Zozo, age 26, 2013. Story. *solved*
26. Patricia Mashigo, age 36, 2013. Story. *unsolved*
27. Gift Makau, age 18, 2014. Story. *trial pending*
28. Britney Cosby, age 24, 2014. Story. *unclear*
29. Crystal Jackson, age 24, 2014. Story. *unclear*

Murdered Gay, Bisexual, and Pansexual Men and Boys
1. Doug Williams, Jr., age 20, 1973. Story. *unsolved*
2. Donald Dunbar, age 21, 1973. Story. *unsolved*
3. David Gary, age 22, 1973. Story. *unsolved*
4. Eddie Warren, age 24, 1973. Story. *unsolved*
5. Reggie Adams, age 24, 1973. Story. *unsolved*
6. Larry Stratton, age 25, 1973. Story. *unsolved*
7. Horace Broussard, age 26, 1973. Story. *unsolved*
8. James Warren, age 26, 1973. Story. *unsolved*
9. Bud Matyi, age 27, 1973. Story. *unsolved*
10. Bobby Lumpkin, age 29, 1973. Story. *unsolved*
11. Bill Bailey, age 29, 1973. Story. *unsolved*
12. Mitch Mitchell, age 31, 1973. Story. *unsolved*
13. Leon Maples, age 31, 1973. Story. *unsolved*
14. Hugh Cooley, age 32, 1973. Story. *unsolved*
15. Adam Fontenot, age 32, 1973. Story. *unsolved*
16. Glenn Green, age 32, 1973. Story. *unsolved*
17. Skip Getchell, Jr., age 35, 1973. Story. *unsolved*
18. Gerry Gordon, age 37, 1973. Story. *unsolved*
19. Guy Andersen, age 41, 1973. Story. *unsolved*
20. Perry Waters, Jr., age 41, 1973. Story. *unsolved*
21. Jim Hambrick, age 45, 1973. Story. *unsolved*
22. Luther Boggs, age 47, 1973. Story. *unsolved*
23. Bill Larson, age 47, 1973. Story. *unsolved*
24. Ken Harrington, age 48, 1973. Story. *unsolved*
25. Clarence McCloskey, Jr., age 48, 1973. Story. *unsolved*
26. John Golding, Sr., age 49, 1973. Story. *unsolved*
27. Ferris LeBlanc, age 50, 1973. Story. *unsolved*
28. Joe Adams, age 51, 1973. Story. *unsolved*
29. Charlie Howard, age 23, 1984. Story. *solved*
30. John Lloyd Griffin, age 27, 1988. Story. *solved*
31. Tommy Lee Trimble, age 34, 1988. Story. *solved*
32. Joe Rose, age 23, 1989. Story. *solved*
33. Jimmy Zappalorti, age 44, 1990. Story. *solved*
34. Paul Broussard, age 27, 1991. Story. *solved*
35. Thanh Nguyen, age 29, 1991. Story. *solved*
36. Joel Larson, age 21, 1991. Story. *solved*
37. Allen Schindler, Jr., age 22, 1992. Story. *solved*
38. Nick West, age 23, 1993. Story. *solved*
39. Fred Mangione, age 46, 1996. Story. *solved*
40. Matthew Shepard, age 21, 1998. Story. *solved*
41. Billy Jack Gaither, age 39, 1999. Story. *solved*
42. Winfield Mowder, age 40, 1999. Story. *solved*
43. Gary Matson, age 50, 1999. Story. *solved*
44. Steen Fenrich, age 19, 2000. Story. *solved*
45. Danny Overstreet, age 43, 2000. Story. *solved*
46. Scotty Joe Weaver, age 18, 2002. Story. *solved*
47. Dano Fetty, age 39, 2004. Story. *solved*
48. Brian Williamson, age 58, 2004. Story. *solved*
49. Jody Dobrowski, age 24, 2005. Story. *solved*
50. Amancio Corrales, age 23, 2005. Story. *unclear*
51. Michael Sandy, age 29, 2006. Story. *solved*
52. Ryan Skipper, age 25, 2007. Story. *solved*
53. Ian Baynham, age 62, 2009. Story. *solved*
54. August Provost, age 29, 2009. Story. *unclear*
55. Jorge Steven López Mercado, age 19, 2009. Story. *solved*
56. Lawrence Corrêa Biancão, age 20, 2012. Story. *solved*
57. Mark Carson, age 32, 2013. Story. *solved*
58. Kaique Batista dos Santos, age 16, 2014. Story. *unclear*
59. Jay, age unknown, year unknown. Story. *solved*

Murdered Transgender and Gender-Variant Women and Girls
1. Shirley Hauser, age 20, 1978. Story. *solved*
2. Carla Leigh Salazar, age 35, 1989. Story. *solved*
3. Grayce Baxter, age 26, 1992. Story. *solved*
4. Chanelle Pickett, age 23, 1995. Story. *solved*
5. Rita Hester, age 34, 1998. Story. *unsolved*
6. Terrianne Summers, age 51, 2001. Story. *unsolved*
7. Gwen Araujo, age 17, 2002. Story. *solved*
8. Ukea Davis, age 18, 2002. Story. *unsolved*
9. Stephanie Thomas, age 19, 2002. Story. *unsolved*
10. Arlene Diaz, age 28, 2002. Story. *solved*
11. Nizah Morris, age 46/47, 2002. Story. *unclear*
12. Nireah Johnson, age 17, 2003. Story. *solved*
13. Bella Evangelista, age 25, 2003. Story. *solved*
14. Emonie Spaulding, age 26, 2003. Story. *solved*
15. Rupesh Mandal, age 13, 2006. Story. *solved*
16. Tiffany Berry, age 21, 2006. Story. *solved*
17. Gisberta Salce, Jr., age 46, 2006. Story. *solved*
18. Erika Keels, age 20, 2007. Story. *unclear*
19. Angie Zapata, age 18, 2008. Story. *solved*
20. Lateisha Green, age 22, 2008. Story. *solved*
21. Sanesha Stewart, age 25, 2008. Story. *solved*
22. January Lapuz, age 26, 2008. Story. *solved*
23. Nakhia Williams, age 29, 2008. Story. *solved*
24. Taysia Elzy, age 34, 2008. Story. *solved*
25. Duanna Johnson, age 43, 2008. Story. *unclear*
26. Tyli’a Mack, age 21, 2009. Story. *unclear*
27. Kamilla, age 30, 2009. Story. *unsolved*
28. Cynthia Nicole, age 32, 2009. Story. *unsolved*
29. Chanel Larkin, age 26, 2010. Story. *solved*
30. Victoria Carmen White, age 28, 2010. Story. *solved*
31. Amanda Gonzalez-Andujar, age 29, 2010. Story. *solved*
32. Ramazan Çetin, age 24, 2011. Story. *solved*
33. Didem, age 26, 2011. Story. *unclear*
34. Dee Dee Pearson, age 31, 2011. Story. *solved*
35. Guilherme de Souza, age 16, 2012. Story. *unclear*
36. Tiffany Gooden, age 19, 2012. Story. *unsolved*
37. Victoria da Silva Costa, age 21, 2012. Story. *unclear*
38. Paige Clay, age 23, 2012. Story. *unsolved*
39. Deoni Jones, age 23, 2012. Story. *trial pending*
40. Laryssa Silveira, age 24, 2012. Story. *unclear*
41. Sheila Viegas Silva, age 25, 2012. Story. *unclear*
42. Lorena Escalera, age 25, 2012. Story. *unsolved*
43. Kyra Cordova, age 27, 2012. Story. *unsolved*
44 Agnes Torres Sulca, age 28, 2012. Story. *arrest made*
45. Coko Williams, age 35, 2012. Story. *unsolved*
46. Brandy Martell, age 37, 2012. Story. *unsolved*
47. Dalva Dalvanei Alves Pereira, age 37, 2012. Story. *unclear*
48. Cassandra Zapata, age 39, 2012. Story. *unclear*
49. Demetrio Apaza Mayta, age 42, 2012. Story. *unclear*
50. Camila, age unknown, 2012. Story. *unclear*
51. CeCe Dove, age 20, 2013. Story. *solved*
52. Nicole Galisteu, age 20, 2013. Story. *arrests made*
53. Islan Nettles, age 21, 2013. Story. *solved*
54. Brittany-Nicole Kidd-Stergis, age 22, 2013. Story. *arrest made*
55. Dora Özer, age 24, 2013. Story. *unclear*
56. Eyricka Morgan, age 26, 2013. Story. *arrest made*
57. Thalia Batista Mendes, age 31, 2013. Story. *unclear*
58. Domonique Newburn, age 31, 2013. Story. *trial pending*
59. Diamond Williams, age 31, 2013. Story. *solved*
60. Konyale Madden, age 34, 2013. Story. *unclear*
61. Gaye, age 40, 2013. Story. *unclear*
62. Mylène, age 42, 2013. Story. *unclear*
63. Betty Skinner, age 52, 2013. Story. *unclear*
64. Esmeralda Garcia Retes, age unknown, 2013. Story. *unclear*
65. Cecilia Marahouse, age unknown, 2013. Story. *unclear*
66. Alex Medeiros, age 8, 2014. Story. *unsolved*
67. Deshawnda Sanchez, age 21, 2014. Story. *arrest made*
68. Dafine dos Santos Cameiro, age 22, 2014. Story. *unclear*
69. Makelly Castro, age 24, 2014. Story. *unsolved*
70. Ashley Sherman, age 25, 2014. Story. *unsolved*
71. Mia Henderson, age 26, 2014. Story. *unsolved*
72. Jennifer Laude, age 26, 2014. Story. *solved*
73. Mayang Prasetyo, age 27, 2014. Story. *solved*
74. Tiffany Edwards, age 28, 2014. Story. *arrest made*
75. Zoraida Reyes, age 28, 2014. Story. *arrest made*
76. Yaz’min Shancez, age 31, 2014. Story. *unsolved*
77. Kandy Hall, age 40, 2014. Story. *unsolved*
78. Alejandra Leos, age 41, 2014. Story. *solved*
79. Aniya Parker, age 47, 2014. Story. *arrest made*
80. Mary Joy Añonuevo, age 55, 2014. Story. *unsolved*
81. Penny Proud, age 21, 2015. Story. *unsolved*
82. Ty Underwood, age 24, 2015. Story. *arrest made*
83. Lamia Beard, age 30, 2015. Story. *unsolved*
84. Taja De Jesus, age 36, 2015. Story. *unclear*
85. Kristina Grant Infiniti, age 46, 2015. Story. *unsolved*

Murdered Transgender and Gender-Variant Men and Boys
1. Brandon Teena, age 21, 1993. Story. *solved*

Other Murder Victims
Of these: Fred Martinez, Jr. identified as two-spirit. Thapelo Makutle identified as gay and transgender. In the cases of Larry King and Simmie Williams, Jr., they identified as gay and it is uncertain if they also identified with a different gender identity. Inez Warren and Barry Winchell identified as straight and cisgender but nonetheless became victims to anti-LGBT violence. In the cases of Jeff Whittington, Vlad Tornovoi, and Dwayne Jones, it is unclear or there are conflicting reports about how they identified. It is completely unknown who the first three men are.
1. UpStairs Lounge Unknown 1, age unknown, 1973. Story. *unsolved*
2. UpStairs Lounge Unknown 2, age unknown, 1973. Story. *unsolved*
3. UpStairs Lounge Unknown 3, age unknown, 1973. Story. *unsolved*
4. Inez Warren, age 59, 1973. Story. *unsolved*
5. Jeff Whittington, age 14, 1999. Story. *solved*
6. Barry Winchell, age 21, 1999. Story. *solved*
7. Fred Martinez, Jr., age 16, 2001. Story. *solved*
8. Larry King, age 15, 2008. Story. *solved*
9. Simmie Williams, Jr., age 17, 2008. Story. *unsolved*
10. Thapelo Makutle, age 23, 2012. Story. *unsolved*
11. Dwayne Jones, age 16, 2013. Story. *unsolved*
12. Vlad Tornovoi, age 23, 2013. Story. *solved*

Lesbian, Bisexual, and Pansexual Women and Girls Who Died by Suicide
1. Anna Wakefield, age 29, 1997. Story.
2. Puja Mondal, age 17, 2011. Story.
3. Bobby Saha, age 19, 2011. Story.
4. Catherine, age unknown, 2012/2013. Story.

Gay, Bisexual, and Pansexual Men and Boys Who Died by Suicide
1. Bobby Griffith, age 20, 1983. Story.
2. Bill Clayton, age 17, 1995. Story.
3. Asher Brown, age 13, 2010. Story.
4. Seth Walsh, age 13, 2010. Story.
5. Justin Aaberg, age 15, 2010. Story.
6. Tyler Clementi, age 18, 2010. Story.
7. Jamey Rodemeyer, age 14, 2011. Story.
8. Jamie Hubley, age 15, 2011. Story.
9. Rafael Morelos, age 14, 2012. Story.
10. Phillip Parker, age 14, 2012. Story.
11. Kenneth Weishuhn, Jr., age 14, 2012 Story.
12. Brandon Elizares, age 16, 2012. Story.
13. Corey Jones, age 17, 2012. Story.
14. Josh Pacheco, age 17, 2012. Story.
15. Jack Reese, age 17, 2012. Story.
16. Jeffrey Fehr, age 18, 2012. Story.
17. Eric James Borges, age 19, 2012. Story.
18. Ayden Keenan-Olson, age 14, 2013. Story.
19. Jadin Bell, age 15, 2013. Story.
20. Carlos Vigil, age 17, 2013. Story.
21. Ben Wood, age 21, 2013. Story.
22. Blake Boothe, age 14, 2014. Story.
23. Isa Shakhmarli, age 20, 2014. Story.

Transgender Women and Girls Who Died by Suicide
1. Michelle Lynne O’Hara, age unknown, 2000. Story.
2. Chloe Lacey, age 18, 2010. Story.
3. Lucy Meadows, age 32, 2013. Story.
4. Leelah Alcorn, age 17, 2014. Story.
5. Kate Von Roeder, age 27, 2014. Story.
6. Melonie Rose, age 19, 2015. Story.
7. Charlotte Amelia Loh, age 22, 2015. Story.
8. Eylül Cansin, age 23, 2015. Story.
9. Aubrey Mariko Shine, age 22, 2015. Story.

Transgender Men and Boys Who Died by Suicide
1. Landon Lopez-Brandies, age 14, 2013. Story.
2. Riley Moscatel, age 17, 2014. Story.
3. Zander Mahaffey, age 15, 2015. Story.
4. Ash Haffner, age 16, 2015. Story.

Other Deaths by Suicide
Of these: Many did not identify as LGBT at all but were nonetheless influenced by anti-LGBT bullying. In a couple of cases, it is unclear or unknown how they identified.
1. Eric Mohat, age 17, 2007. Story.
2. Cameron McWilliams, age 10, 2008. Story.
3. Carl Walker-Hoover, age 11, 2009. Story.
4. Jaheem Herrera, age 11, 2009. Story.
5. Samantha Johnson, age 13, 2009. Story.
6. Dominic Crouch, age 15, 2010. Story.
7. Ronin Shimizu, age 12, 2014. Story.

Other Deaths
Of these: Albert Kennedy died accidentally while attemping to flee homophobic assailants. Tyra Hunter died after emergency personnel withdrew medical treatment after discovering she was transgender. Eric Calitz, Nicolas Van Der Walt, and Raymond Buys died at a so-called conversion camp. Sean Kennedy was a victim of manslaughter. Jennifer Gale died of heart disease that was exacerbated by sleeping outside, bringing light to the lack of accessible homeless shelters for transgender people. Jessie Hernandez was a victim of police brutality.
1. Albert Kennedy, age 16, 1989. Story.
2. Tyra Hunter, age 24, 1995. Story.
3. Eric Calitz, age 18, 2007. Story.
4. Nicolas Van Der Walt, age 19, 2007. Story.
5. Sean Kennedy, age 20, 2007. Story.
6. Jennifer Gale, age 47, 2008. Story.
7. Raymond Buys, age 15, 2011/2012. Story.
8. Jessie Hernandez, age 16, 2015. Story.

Turning Off the Queue System

TW: none

We’ve made a small change to the way our comment system works and have decided, for the time being, to do away with sending all comments into moderation for one of us to approve manually.

Comments on the blog have always been a little buggy. During the early few months of the project, some would randomly disappear after being posted and I would never see them. We didn’t use a queue system back then, so there was no reason for the comments to not show up right away, and this happened to several people across multiple computers including myself when I tested it. We’ve also had ongoing issues with subscribing to comments on posts and then not being notified when a comment is made on that post (which is what’s supposed to happen when you subscribe to a thread).

The latest issue involves some people being able to read and respond to comments that were shown as unapproved and still in moderation and therefore shouldn’t be visible to anyone except us. We noticed – and I can’t believe we didn’t notice sooner, honestly, because this happened on a few posts – that one person with a story on the site who answers all questions had responded to unapproved comments by hitting reply and creating a thread, something she only could have done if the comments were visible to her on the post to begin with. When we had some people test it, a third to half of them were also seeing comments before they were approved. Which kind of defeats the purpose of having comments go into mod.

So to spare ourselves the hassle, we cleared out all of the comments in the queue and turned off the setting that sends them there. From now on, a comment should be visible the moment someone posts it. If this becomes a problem, we’ll turn it back on, but since it hasn’t been, we’re fine doing it this way for the time being.

Author: Meg