When will it end? I borrowed the title of the famed Agatha Christie novel because it's beginning to feel that way right now. I learned this morning of another murder of a young transgender soul. This was Adolphus Simmons. The death is slowly coming to light. It occurred over a month ago in North Charleston, South Carolina. Adolphus was shot several times as he took out the trash from his apartment. And like the shooting of Larry King, the alleged shooter is quite young. Additional arrests involving a 19 year old and another 15 year old have been made.
In the story, Adolphus is described as being well-liked by neighbors and friends, even if he was a bit different. He is described as a gay male who wore women's clothing and styles. I don't know if this is an attempt at denying his existence as a transperson or not. Frequently media, with the complicity of family members, don't include a transgender's name, only the "past" identity. It is rather demeaning to be denied your existence even in your death.
By my count, this is the sixth...the SIXTH...transgender murder in 2008 and there's yet another day to go before we exit February. The average in the United States over the past several years has been around one transgender murder per month. It's even been a little less than that the past couple of years. In just two months, we've tripled that average. I most sincerely pray it doesn't continue.
The 19 year old that was arrested, Jackuez Witherspoon, charged as an accessory after the fact. Police say he tried to conceal the assailant's identity. What is troublesome is that his minister came rushing to his defense, "He was around the corner with some boys and they heard shots and ran over to see what happened," Rev. Clary Samuels said. "He's a good boy. I can vouch for him. I don't know how he got pulled into this." Witherspoon is also a suspect in the break-in of Adolphus's apartment earlier in the month. My guess is that Witherspoon isn't an innocent as the minister suggests. I hope I am wrong. I also hope I am wrong about my gut feeling regarding Rev. Samuels.
I wish I had met Adolphus. He was described as jovial, a jokester, always laughing, someone who wanted to pick up your spirits. Those are the people I would like to know, not the moralists who preach that Adolphus and me and all those with non-conforming gender presentations are of no value.