Bee Love Slater Is 18th Trans Woman Killed in 2019
|thenorthstar||Sep 10, 2019|
A transgender woman was found brutally killed and burned in a car in Clewiston, Florida just days before her 24th birthday. Bee Love Slater, 23, is the 18th transgender woman killed in the United States in 2019.
Slater, of Pahokee, Florida, was found “burnt beyond recognition” in a car on September 4 about 30 miles away in Clewiston. Hendry County investigators positively identified Slater two days later, according to NewNowNext.
The Hendry County Sheriff’s Department identified Slater on September 6, but they deadnamed her by referring to the name she was given at birth but no longer used. Authorities are investigating the motive behind Slater’s murder and have yet to make an arrest.
Kenard Wade, Slater’s friend, told WINK that he spoke to Slater the night she died. Wade told the news station that he knew Slater had been killed when deputies found her body. “That’s her car,” Wade told WINK. “I know that. I know her car.”
Wade claimed someone wanted to hurt Slater and she was aware of it. Slater allegedly told her friend that she wanted to leave town to avoid potential harm.
Desmond Vereen, another friend of Slater’s and organizer of a local vigil, told WBBH that he believes her identity was the reason behind her murder. “I feel like she was targeted because of her lifestyle,” Vereen told the station. “She loved to be around people and meeting new people too because of her lifestyle that she transitioned into.”
Antorris Williams echoed those feelings in an interview with Out. Williams said Slater was “in a great place” until someone began threatening her on Facebook. “She posted messages saying she felt as if people were after her to attack and hurt her and she had a conversation with one of her best friends the day she was murdered saying she wanted to leave [the city],” Williams said. He noted that he knew Slater “by association.”
Slater’s horrific death comes just two days after 17-year-old Bailey Reeves was gunned down in Baltimore, Maryland. At around 8:05 p.m. on September 2, police found the teen on the 4300 block of Parkwood Avenue with multiple gunshot wounds to her torso. She was transported to a local hospital, where she died.
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) noted that 11 of this year’s known murders of transgender people were killed by gun violence. The organization said in a statement that about two-thirds of the deaths, included in the more than 140 known victims of anti-transgender violence from 2013 to the present, have resulted from gun violence.
The organization noted that there are few legal protections for transgender or gender-expansive people. “We must demand better from our elected officials and reject harmful anti-transgender legislation appearing at the local, state, and federal levels because it is clear that fatal violence disproportionately affects transgender women of color,” the HRC said in a statement after Reeves’ death. “The intersections of racism, transphobia, sexism, biphobia, and homophobia conspire to deprive them of necessities to live and thrive.”
"Bee Love Slater was known to her friends as a sweet, loving young woman. She deserved to see her 24th birthday -- but instead, her life was stolen from her by a toxic mix of transphobia, misogyny and racism," HRC National Press Secretary Sarah McBride said in a statement to The North Star.
"This epidemic of violence that disproportionately targets transgender people of color -- particularly Black transgender women -- must cease. These victims are not numbers -- they were people with hopes and plans, dreams for the future, loved ones and communities who will miss them every day."
At least 18 known transgender women have been murdered in 2019. In 2015, Laverne Cox declared a “state of emergency” amid rising violence against the transgender community, according to ThinkProgress.
“We in the transgender community right now, are reeling,” Cox said during a 2015 appearance on Good Morning America. “Your life should not be in danger simply for being who you are. I think the reasons why trans women experience so much violence has to do with employment, housing, healthcare, etc., so we need to make sure that trans lives matter.”
A US Transgender Survey (USTS) in 2015 found that nearly one tenth of respondents reported experiencing physical assault for being transgender within the past year. Nearly half of survey respondents (42 percent) said they experienced some type of intimate partner violence such as physical abuse or threats during their lifetime.
The attacks on transgender people, particularly transgender women of color, have not stopped since then. According to an HRC report, at least 26 transgender people were killed in 2018.
In a statement to NewNowNext, Hendry County Sheriff Steve Whidden asked that anyone with information on Slater’s death contact investigators. Anyone with information is urged to call the Hendry County Sheriff’s Office at 863-674-5600 or Southwest Florida Crime Stoppers at 800-780-8477.
About the Author
Nicole Rojas is a breaking news writer for The North Star. She has published in various publications, including Newsweek, GlobalPost, IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly, and the Long Island Post. Nicole graduated from Boston University in 2012 with a degree in print journalism. She is an avid world traveler who recently explored Asia and Australia.