Unfortunately, the violence against Black trans women failed to cease after our calls to action during summers of 2020 and 2021. Tatiana “Tee Tee” Labelle was missing for five days until her body was found Friday, stuffed in a garbage bin, reported ABC7 Chicago. She was the second Black trans woman to be found dead last week.
“I loved my sister whether she was transgender or not, and I would like for me and my family to have justice,” said Labelle’s sister, Shameika Thomas via ABC7.
Investigators said Labelle, 33, was beaten to death, per ABC7’s report. Her body was found in an alley in East Chatham. A neighbor said once the garbagemen pulled up the bin, “everything fell out.”
More on the incident from ABC7:
Neighbors said they didn’t hear a thing.
“I automatically knew then, too, that it was dropped over here. The incident didn’t happen right here. It didn’t. It couldn’t have,” the neighbor said.
People who live near the scene are stepping up community-led patrols so that women in those areas on the South Side can feel safe.
“The way in which she was brutally murdered, it’s so heinous that there is no way we can reactively just say something. We have to become more proactive,” said Dr. LaShawn Littrice, Black Women of Faith.
The Cook County medical examiner ruled Labelle’s death as a homicide and police say they are still investigating her death, reported the Advocate.
The Human Rights Campaign reported up to 57 transgender individuals were killed in 2021. ABC7 reported 11 percent of the killings occurred in Chicago. HRC also reported the violence disproportionately targets Black trans women due to racism, sexism and the systematic struggle to access necessary resources such as housing and healthcare.
Per the Advocate, Labelle is the seventh trans person killed this year. Just the day before Labelle’s body was found, Chicago suffered the loss of Black trans leader and activist Elise Malary who was found dead in Lake Michigan. Malary was only 31 years old.
The proximity of both murders is alarming to say the least. An instance like this should be enough to catalyze a proper call to action to ensure the safety of Black trans women. However, nothing much has changed even after attention was brought to the issue during the nation’s ‘racial reckoning’ in 2020.
“Trans women in general, especially Black trans women, are treated as disposable in this society and it is nauseating to think about what happened to Tee Tee. Black women in general, certainly Black trans women, go missing and there is not enough done. There are not enough police resources. There is not enough community response or political power weighing in,” said Iggy Landen, director of the Chicago Therapy Collective via PEOPLE.