This month, a Canadian mural in Ottawa commemorating several slain transgender women of color got destroyed by threatening graffiti.
The original mural said: “Rest in Power. #sayhername ALL BLACK LIVES MATTER. Because if your liberation is not bound up in mind, Then when is the point? – Blak collectiv” and included some the following women’s names:
– Lamia Beard, a 30-year-old who died of gunshot wounds in Norfolk, Virginia in January 2015
– Mahadevi, a 22-year-old disabled trans woman who got pushed off a moving train in Bangalore, India in September 2014
– Sumaya Ysl, a 26-year-old Somali activist murdered in Toronto in February 2015
– Amber Monroe a 20-year-old sex worker shot in Detroit, Michigan on August 2015.
Props to the mural for being so international and inclusive of women of many different kinds of color. In contrast, the vandals used two quite fugly shades of orange and to defile the artwork with the words: “Racist bullshit. All colors matter. All lives, no double standard, you’ve been warned.”
You’ve been warned? Ugh. Forget the menacing tone of violence for just a second and note that if all colors matter, then a multicultural mural honoring the lives of Indian, American, Canadian, and Somalian women shouldn’t really bother you. But the additional “warning” also shows that the vandal considers some lives worth harming. Disgusting.
Keep in mind that trans women have been killed in double-digit numbers this year alone, and its possible that the number is actually much higher than we think, and many other slain trans folks have simply been erased due to misgendering by hospitals, governmental agencies and the media.
As far as we know, authorities haven’t caught the perps yet. However, one small bright spot in this story was the mural painted in response to the vandalism, which read, “If all lives matter, then why are stories of trans women of color continually erased?”
— Jenna Tenn-Yuk (@jennatennyuk) September 24, 2015