This year has been an especially deadly one for transgender women, particularly Black trans women and unfortunately, the disturbing trend shows no signs of stopping.
Last week, the body of Bee Love Slater, 23, was found in a torched car in Clewiston, Florida, making her the 18th known trans woman to lose her life under unnatural circumstances this year. CBS News reported that her body was burned beyond recognition.
Though investigators have yet to confirm if she was the victim of a hate crime, Slater’s best friend, Kenard Wade, told reporters that she could think of no other reason why someone would harm her.
”She had a really, really good heart,” Wade told WINK. “She would never harm anyone, never put anyone in harm’s way. How could someone go to that extreme to get rid of her?”
According to CBS, Wade also mentioned that Slater had received threats the day of the fire and expressed that she wanted to leave town to avoid any trouble.
Since her death, many have taken to social media to share their support and express how great of a person Slater was.
“Bee love was kind to everyone she came in contact with and her presence touched me for just the four months that I shared with her was amazing!” Dezmond Bass wrote on Facebook.
It has become apparent to many that something needs to be done to protect these women as the American Medical Association has labeled these killings of trans women of color an “epidemic.”
“According to available tracking, fatal anti-transgender violence in the U.S. is on the rise and most victims were black transgender women,” said AMA Board Member S. Bobby Mukkamala, M.D. “The number of victims could be even higher due to underreporting and better data collection by law enforcement is needed to create strategies that will prevent anti-transgender violence.”
The same week Slater was killed, 17-year-old Bailey Reeves was shot and killed in Baltimore. According to CBS, the Trump administration has continued to roll back protections for the LGBTQ community, which has put countless individuals in danger.
“Our society needs to work to ensure transpeople can live without fear,” the ACLU of Florida said in a statement onThursday.
The investigation into Slater and Reeves’ deaths are ongoing.