Open Letter to TransAdvocate re: transgender murders

transadvocateLEXIE CANNES STATE OF TRANS — This is an open letter to the founder and editors of TransAdvocate: Marti Abernathey, Founding Editor; Cristan Williams, Editor-in-Chief; Autumn Sandeen, Editor; Monica Roberts, Editor.

I just wrote my third article on transgender deaths for the week. In all, 6 trans people were murdered during this recent string. I’m guessing, but I believe I’ve reported on 80 or so trans murders to this point. The photos of each and every one of them are burned in my brain. I started doing this a few years back because I felt it was the least I could do to help our community be safe and aware of society’s tendency for trans violence.

Although writing constantly about trans murder is wearisome, I’ve never asked anyone else to share this burden because the misery index can be high and is not something I’d willingly wish on trans people who are not professionally trained to deal with.

Late last year, I was approach by a serious trans-run entity that were willing to share this burden. Although they set their sights pretty high, they had the brains, volunteers and money to pull it off. The value of accurate, factual and non-misgendered information is beyond measurable for advocates and writers — readers don’t often realize a few sentences about a trans murder may take hours to nail down.

Unfortunately, for whatever reason, that train was derailed at the station by TransAdvocate. You felt it necessary to toss a grenade, fine, so now there’s a big hole here. What’s your plan to fill it? Can you really drop that bomb and walk away? Maybe your ethical findings were a bit too demoralizing for you to live with. But let me tell you, looking at down this huge hole of yours right now, at this time, is especially demoralizing to me and I have to live with it. God forbid anyone else gets murdered in the next few weeks.

Checking out the TA website revealed that none of these 6 murders were reported on your home page. The TA Facebook page had a repost from Autostraddle about 2 of the murders, leaving the other 4 unreported. Clearly TA isn’t stepping up to fill the hole.

All of you are respected advocates and writers and you all are entitled to your opinions and views. I have no desire to start another debate, nor have a family squabble, but I do have to ask: what’s TransAdvocate’s plan to fill the hole? Maybe convince an existing trans organization into tracking trans violence and murders? Surely you can twist an arm or two. Maybe your plan is no plan at all. If that’s the case, just say so and we’ll just all move on.


Recent transgender murders:

Los Angeles: 

Kentucky, Austria:

Pakistan, Texas, Virginia:

TransAdvocate website:

TA Facebook:


Watch LEXIE CANNES right now: Or get the DVD:   

LEXIE CANNES STATE OF TRANS is associated with Wipe Out Transphobia:

Read Lexie Cannes in The Huffington Post:

Categories: Everything else

Tags: , , , ,

21 replies

  1. Don’t hold your breath waiting for an answer Lexie. These are people with very personal agendas. They truly have no concern for anything other than that. You on the other hand are a genuine person and I for one appreciate the work you do.

  2. Hi Lexie,

    I’ve been chronicling transgender news on a daily basis for over twelve years now. I’ve come across more than a few trans murders during that time myself.

    I’ve also known Autumn, Marti, Monica and Cristan for many years.

    I think the only “agenda” we all share is a deep, abiding sadness and anger over each and every murder.

    As much as I deeply admire your passion and commitment in what you are doing, I am just as deeply disappointed in the path you have chosen to travel here.

    Kindest regards,


  3. I am a local advocate in the State of Louisiana, and I have been involved in three years of TDOR presentations state wide. I was very pleased when TVTP came into being because it saved me weeks of gleaning all the sources I could find for ‘dependable’ data on this terrible problem of world wide murders of transpeople – mainly transwomen of color (African-American, African national, Filipino, Indian, and particularly Latino). All that gave us a very good perspective of what is happening worldwide – and we were successfully passing that information out into the non- community organizations and people in general. Now it isn’t available. I understand what happened, and yes there was a reasoning behind it, and yes there were some non-transparent things going on. BUT, and this is what disturbs me most, the whole thing reeks of a type of jealous infighting that is so counterproductive in the Trans Community, I have to agree 100% with Lexie Cannes. What happened was not in the interest of ANYONE and only fed egos (or attempted to destroy one) and set the Trans Community back twenty years. Like shooting off your foot to cure an ingrown toenail.

    • You’re absolutely right about this need of a source for reliable data. Right now I can’t tell if things are getting better or worse on the trans murder front. Readers are left with making their own conclusions which can lead to tragic consequences. If something IS working, it would be nice to be able to report that. Just like everyone else, I’m in the dark.

  4. Hi Lexie! First, I am not affiliated with Transadvocate.

    Second, the National Coalition for Anti-Violence Programs and the TGEU trans murder monitoring project, found at, which the TVTP plagiarized all the work they ever did and attempted to take credit, is still in operation. Both of these projects track anti-trans violence in a much more capable capacity, without defrauding the community or taking part in actively policing the political stances of other trans people, as Allison Woolbert did often.

    Third, Transadvocate was not involved in the exposé against Allison Woolbert. A team worked independently on that investigation and we decided to self-publish our findings on TERF Tracker’s old blog,, and Trans Safe Spaces. All Transadvocate did was publish an open letter asserting their position on our findings.

    Fourth, it’s quite uncouth to take a protective act; exposing someone who’s entire history was fabricated and who has a long history of fraud (some of which we haven’t even published yet, such as her being sued for fraudulent business practices in 2008) and calling that “throwing a grenade.” This was not done as a personal vendetta, Allison had a meteoric rise to power in the trans community thanks to her wheeling-and-dealing, and we found some very troubling facts that lead people to rightfully questioning if she should have that much influence over our community. Combined with her troubling practice of policing the thoughts of other trans people (listing them on the TVTP for taking part in a protest she didn’t agree with, as if TVTP was some kind of spin-off of CB’s Name The Problem being one of them)

    That’s not even to speak of her past of being a repeat sex offender. We have no evidence that she was repeating the unspeakable acts she committed in her mid-20s, but there’s a laundry list of actions she performed which indicate that she has a problem with power and control to this day. The red flags are why we even knew to look.

    We stopped someone whose only career in the past 15 years since they got out of prison is taking advantage of people using their fraudulent business from preying on the trans community, and the only fissure this left in the trans community is that no one will be plagiarizing the work of others to make money and siphon political influence.

    You’re welcome.

  5. The data that TVTP compiled was taken, in large part, from an international project. Woolbert packaged up the information and presented as new. Sadly,

    There is a lot of information which was not published, and I hope that TA publish the rest at some point although nothing will be served in so doing, other than clearing the air.

  6. I’ve read everything here. Two observations:

    1- Lexie said in her op she is not looking to start up something. How about everyone stop being defensive and bringing up more sh*t about someone that isn’t relevant and address the issue: transwomen being murdered. That’s the issue. I don’t give a flying f*ck who did what to whom when where and why. That’s old news. Where is the new news? Why isn’t the TA covering these crimes?

    2- what does the project that is still operating at need to be successful? How do we participate? How can we help? Can we all set aside the stuff about grenades and criminal convictions and lies and sins and everything that has nothing to do with the fact women in our community need help and it’s up to us to provide it? C’mon people, get past the self righteousness — although I am sure some of you see it as justifiable and worthy of repetition — and let’s focus. What can I do? What is needed? Who else here will stand up and say ENOUGH?

    • Dawn is spot on here. We ought to be focusing on what we can do from this point forward. I’ve a great deal of admiration for Monica Roberts and her tireless advocating for TWOC, and Cristian Williams, I wrote about her doing what she does best: . But re: trans murders, we’re mired in the mud here and for many, the whole thing seems bleak. Does TA have answers?

    • I would also add getting Allison to relinquish proprietary control and rights to the project so others can continue it as this is by far the fastest path to making that resource available. I’m quite willing to provide hosting space (via a web hosting service for which I personally pay) for free to such an endeavor. I’ll even foot the domain registration. I’ll welcome mirrors as well.

      My weakness is that I’m a SysAdmin and not a programmer, so can’t do much on writing the code required.

  7. Hi everyone, lets stay focused on what we can do to head off trans murders, not rehash the events of last month. Those still wishing to discuss what transpired last month can do so on TA’s website where there is a lively discussion going on. Thank you.

  8. I would say we quickly are off topic here as I see only more and more controversy and accusations flying, but that would only aggravate the situation – so I am letting that drop. But I would hope all would agree that this whole business is unfortunate and I do so hope the critics of the transgender community do not find and use this against us. And where do we find the information now to work on a TDOR that is reasonably accurate?

  9. Repost from Facebook.

    Me: I’ve seen the TVT site before. I’ve immediate questions after a few clicks just now — it doesn’t look user-friendly for reporting incidents, then there’s this:

    “Updated: 07 April 2010 22:48 In the following pages, you will find the TvT Questionnaire in various languages.⇒ Coming soon!”

    Coming soon? It’s been 5 years. This is not a sign of an active or healthy website.

    Another question, why would TVT not want to share data? The goal is to curtail trans murders. It’s telling that if this site has been around for five years, it may just not be up to the task at hand. There may be good reasons for this — lack of volunteers, money, and so on.

  10. Hi Lexie,

    You wrote, “It’s telling that if this site has been around for five years, it may just not be up to the task at hand. There may be good reasons for this — lack of volunteers, money, and so on.”

    On the face of it, one would think that that would not be the case, BUT I don’t really know.

    TvT’s Trans Murder Monitoring (TMM) project is an effort of Transgender Europe (TGEU), a well-respected organization that I’ve followed through the years.

    Information on its funding and global partners can be found at …

    I would assume that GATE ( is the partner organization covering North America. Perhaps it would be worthwhile to get in touch with them. Justus Eisfeld (New York) and Mauro Cabral (Argentina) are its co-directors.

  11. Hi Lexie,

    If you would care to email me, I’d like to pass along to you an email I got from TGEU.

    ~~ Stephanie


  1. Trans Violence: Who's Counting Anyway? | Planet Transgender
  2. SF trans woman stabbed to death; Ecuadorian trans woman murdered in December | LEXIE CANNES STATE OF TRANS
  3. Trans Violence: Who’s Counting Anyway? | The Column
  4. Trans advocates: Choose high-value targets (or batten down loose cannons) | LEXIE CANNES STATE OF TRANS

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: