'Listen to us'

Philly Trans March wants people to know about Shantee Tucker's unsolved murder and other injustices.


he transgender community and allies in Philadelphia will gather Saturday for the eighth annual Philly Trans March, which comes as police continue to search for the killer of Shantee Tucker, a transgender woman of color fatally shot in September.

The march starts at LOVE Park around 3 p.m. Founder Christian Lovehall first organized the event in 2011 — a year after Stacey Blahnik, another transgender woman of color, was killed in her Philadelphia home. Here is more background about the march's history and the discrimination that transgender people have faced locally.

What is the purpose of the march?

To call attention to the voices of transgender people and the injustices they face. March organizers say they will address a number of topics this year, including unsolved murders, employment discrimination, and the misgendering of transgender people in the media.

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"I wanted to motivate people to stand up and fight back against the epidemic of violence specifically against trans women of color," Lovehall said.

How did the march start?

Lovehall founded it after having attended the funeral for Blahnik a year earlier. Blahnik was slain in her South Philadelphia home in October 2010.

"I didn't know Stacey personally," Lovehall said. "But that was my first trans funeral and it changed my life ... just to see so many community members in pain. It moved me."

What violence have transgender people faced locally and nationally?

The fatal shooting of Tucker, 30, happened in Philadelphia's Hunting Park section on Sept. 5. Tucker had a dispute with the driver of a black pickup truck and was running away from the vehicle when the driver shot her, authorities said.

Police have said Tucker "wasn't targeted because of her gender affiliation or lifestyle," but activists and advocates have said there's no way to be sure that's the case. No arrests have been made.

Tucker is one of at least five transgender women of color killed in Philadelphia since 2013.

Nationally, this year, at least 21 transgender people, including Tucker, have been killed, according to the Human Rights Campaign. Most of those victims were transgender women of color.

What other types of discrimination have transgender people faced in the Philly area?

In June, a transgender woman was sent to a men's prison in Philadelphia after allegedly trying to burn a flag at the city's Pride parade. ReeAnna Segin called the experience "dehumanizing." The city's LGBT affairs director, Amber Hikes, and activists helped bail her out, and Hikes said she was "deeply pained" about what had happened.

Last week, Hikes visited the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility — where Segin had been held — and talked to prison officials about where transgender inmates should be housed and how those inmates can report harassment or assault that happens behind bars. Nearly 30 percent of transgender individuals held in jails, prisons, or juvenile detention centers reported that staff or other inmates had physically or sexually assaulted them in the last year in a 2015 survey by the National Center for Transgender Equality.

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