Jan 6, 2019


Updated 06/18

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About The Blogs
“Perspective gives us the ability to accurately contrast the large with the small, and the important with the less important. Without it we are lost in a world where all ideas, news, and information look the same. We cannot differentiate, we cannot prioritize, and we cannot make good choices. “ -John Sununu

Today there are so many talking heads who daily bombard the airwaves, magazines and periodicals with their version of events and issues that affect our lives and the world. And with so many jabbers reporting what is taking place at home and abroad, often it becomes difficult to distinguish what’s accurate and what’s not. Thus, it’s up to each of us to dig below the headlines to distinguish fact from fiction in order to make a near clean conscience decision as to what the truth might be.

These Blogs are filled with articles and opinions that is not necessarily headlines or openly discussed. It's also filled with an accumulation of insightful information for a bit more clarity of the issues, including pictures and videos for your entertainment.

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X-47B UCAS Aviation History Under Way

A video clip of the first unmanned (pilot-less) stealth fighter jet as it takes off and lands on the US Navy's aircraft carrier, the George H. W. Bush.

-Contributed by Ralph

White Nationalism Is As Much Of A Threat To U.S. As ISIS

by Harriet Sinclair

he threat of white nationalist violence in the U.S. is at least as big a threat as that posed by the Islamic State (ISIS) and similar groups, the FBI revealed Wednesday.

Director Chris Wray told the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee that there are currently 1,000 open investigations into domestic terrorist groups and another 1,000 probes into groups with radical Islamist ideology.

But the similar numbers did not satisfy some members of the panel, with several complaining of a double standard in how attacks from white supremacists were investigated compared with those carried out by people who identified as having radical Islamist ideology.

The number of attacks carried out by white supremacists were “almost triple” those of those carried out by people who identified with groups such as ISIS, said Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri. And government data obtained by The Hill suggests the number of white supremacist attacks compared to those from radical Islamist groups was as many as two to one.

“We have had zero hearings on the threat of domestic terrorists and the threat they pose and our response to it,” McCaskill said, explaining there had been a number of hearings about ISIS, but none about white supremacists.

But said white nationalism is no more or less of a priority for the FBI that threats from terrorist organizations.

“We take both of them very, very seriously,” The Hill reported Wray as saying. “Our focus is on violence and threats of violence against the people of this country. That’s our concern; it’s not ideology.”

Wray also explained domestic and international terrorism was investigated differently, with crimes such as shooting typically classified as terrorism only if there is a link with an international organization or ideology.

“A lot of the [domestic terrorism] cases we bring, we’re able to charge under gun charges, explosive charges, all manner of other crimes,” Wray explained.

 “We also work a lot with state and local law enforcement who can sometimes bring straightforward, easy-to-make cases; homicide cases, things like that,” he added.

His comments on the open investigations at the department come as the Department of Justice announced there were “systemic” problems within the FBI that included failure to properly tackle allegations of serious misconduct, and FBI employees failing polygraph tests. –Newsweek

Beyond Lying: Donald Trump’s Authoritarian Reality

by Jason Stanley

As the Republican candidate for president in 2016, Donald J. Trump has accomplished many things. He engaged in rhetorical tactics unprecedented in recent American electoral history. He was straightforwardly misogynistic. He repeatedly endorsed obviously false claims. There were frequent open discussions of the intentions behind his many odd comments, retractions, semi-retractions and outright false statements.

On a certain level, the media lacked the vocabulary to describe what was happening. Trump was denounced repeatedly for “lying” and at times the apparently more egregious “bald faced lying.” But that is not a sufficient description. Neither was the charge by the philosopher Harry Frankfurt that Trump was in fact a master of “bullshit,” which is distinct from lying in that the speaker is not just communicating information he knows to be false, but is unconstrained by any consideration of what may or may not be true. While this description is technically true, it is at best terribly misleading. This presidential campaign has revealed that our academic and media class has insufficiently grappled with the problem of mass communication.

Liberal democratic societies by definition have a pluralism of value systems. This poses a problem for the politician seeking to gain office, just as it does for the advertiser seeking to gain customers. The total audience consists of sub-audiences with conflicting value systems. The problem of mass communication in a liberal democracy is that of creating and conveying a maximally appealing message to an audience made up of groups with conflicting value systems.

There is a familiar way to respond to the problem in United States presidential politics. It is to convey shared acceptance of a value system to one specific group of voters, while concealing one’s commitment to it to other groups in the audience. In the 2012 campaign, the Republican candidate Mitt Romney repeatedly said that President Obama was weakening the work requirements on welfare. The claim was immediately debunked. In an essay for The Stone, I used Romney’s strategy to explain this familiar response to the problem of mass communication. The goal was to communicate to a certain group of white Southern voters that Romney shared their racial attitudes. But the strategy of communication was sophisticated enough that it provided plausible deniability to the many Republican and independent voters who do not share racist ideology.

Trump has taken an entirely distinct approach to the problem of mass communication.

In “Origins of Totalitarianism,” Hannah Arendt writes:

Like the earlier mob leaders, the spokesmen for totalitarian movements possessed an unerring instinct for anything that ordinary party propaganda or public opinion did not care to touch. Everything hidden, everything passed over in silence, became of major significance, regardless of its own intrinsic importance. The mob really believed that truth was whatever respectable society had hypocritically passed over, or covered with corruption … The modern masses do not believe in anything visible, in the reality of their own experience … What convinces masses are not facts, and not even invented facts, but only the consistency of the system of which they are presumably part.

According to Arendt, the “chief disability” of authoritarian propaganda is that “it cannot fulfill this longing of the masses for a completely consistent, comprehensible, and predictable world without seriously conflicting with common sense.”

The goal of totalitarian propaganda is to sketch out a consistent system that is simple to grasp, one that both constructs and simultaneously provides an explanation for grievances against various out-groups. It is openly intended to distort reality, partly as an expression of the leader’s power. Its open distortion of reality is both its greatest strength and greatest weakness.

Donald Trump is trying to define a simple reality as a means to express his power. The goal is to define a reality that justifies his value system, thereby changing the value systems of his audience. Two questions remain: What is the simple reality that Trump is trying to convey? And what is the value system to which this simple story is intended to shift voters to adopt?

Trump regularly says that America’s “inner cities” are filled with Americans who are impoverished, and of African-American descent. According to Trump, these are places of unprecedented horror. In a tweet on Aug. 29, 2016, Trump wrote: “Inner-city crime is reaching record levels. African-Americans will vote for Trump because they know I will stop the slaughter going on!”

This has continued as one of the central themes in his campaign; there is supposedly an unprecedented wave of violent slaughter. In November 2015, Trump tweeted an image of the following statistics about race and murder from 2015, supposedly from a source called the “Crime Statistics Bureau of San Francisco,” which does not appear to exist. It included wildly inaccurate figures that indicated that a large majority of white people killed were being killed by black people.

In the United States, around 14 percent of the population is of African-American descent. White Americans make up around 75 percent. If 81 percent of white American citizens who were murdered in 2015 were murdered by a small minority group of American citizens with some kind of vaguely generalizable profile, it may be worth addressing in policy. However, F.B.I. statistics from 2014 tell us that 15 percent of whites are killed by their black fellow Americans, and 82 percent of white Americans are killed by their white fellow American citizens. Fact checkers of Trump’s tweet were displeased.

Trump’s narrative about “inner cities” is so old that young people are unfamiliar with it. There is no national crime wave. While increases have occurred in cities like Chicago and Los Angeles, violent crime in the United States remains at historic lows. (A thorough study of this topic can be found at FactCheck.org.)

The simple picture Trump is trying to convey is that there is wild disorder, because of American citizens of African-American descent, and immigrants. He is doing it as a display of strength, showing he is able to define reality and lead others to accept his authoritarian value system.

The chief authoritarian values are law and order. In Trump’s value system, nonwhites and non-Christians are the chief threats to law and order. Trump knows that reality does not call for a value-system like his; violent crime is at almost historic lows in the United States. Trump is thundering about a crime wave of historic proportions, because he is an authoritarian using his speech to define a simple reality that legitimates his value system, leading voters to adopt it. Its strength is that it conveys his power to define reality. Its weakness is that it obviously contradicts it.

Trump is, as Frankfurt asserts, certainly openly insensitive to reality. But he is not carelessly insensitive. To lump Trump’s rhetoric into a category that includes advertising is strange. It is prima facie bizarre to be satisfied with a description of the rhetoric of a dictator like Idi Amin’s as “insensitive to truth and falsity.” Why have we been satisfied with such descriptions of Trump? Perhaps our media, as well as our academic class, assumes that we are healthy liberal democracy, and not susceptible to authoritarian rhetoric. We now know this assumption is false.

Denouncing Trump as a liar, or describing him as merely entertaining, misses the point of authoritarian propaganda altogether. Authoritarian propagandists are attempting to convey power by defining reality. The reality they offer is very simple. It is offered with the goal of switching voters’ value systems to the authoritarian value system of the leader.

This campaign season has been an indictment of our understanding of mass communication. Either we lacked the ability or concepts to describe authoritarian propaganda, or we lacked the will. Either way, we must do better.

Describing what Trump has done requires us to talk not just about the importance of honesty and accuracy, but also about power, value systems and in-groups vs. out-groups. It also requires us to confront the failures of elite policy that have led to an erosion of democratic norms, primarily public trust, that make anti-democratic alternatives suddenly acceptable. –NYT

Hurricane Florence Blows Open Harsh Realities of American Inequality

by Amy Goodman and Denis Moynihan

Wendy Newton and Nicolette Green didn’t have to die. Chained in the back of a sheriff’s van in rural South Carolina, the two mental health patients in their mid-40s were being transported from one facility to another when their van was flooded following Hurricane Florence. The deputies transporting the women managed to escape, but the two helpless patients, their fates sealed by their shackles, died an unnecessary, agonizing death by drowning.

“We have two hurricanes,” the Rev. William Barber explained on the “Democracy Now!” news hour. “The hurricane of poverty and lack of health care and lack of living wages that existed prior to the storm, and then we have the storm, and now everything that was already tough for people has been exacerbated.” Barber is the North Carolina-based pastor who co-founded the renewed Poor People’s Campaign, inspired by Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1968 movement of the same name.

The storm, while downgraded from a Category 4 hurricane to a tropical depression, crept along at just a few miles an hour, drenching the Carolinas in what has been called a “thousand-year storm.” Despite mandatory evacuation orders, many were trapped, too poor to escape. Prisoners remained in their cells, stranded by state and local authorities who refused to relocate them. The destructive deluge was further compounded when coal ash ponds and fetid hog manure lagoons were overwhelmed, sending their toxic contents running with the floodwaters into nearby communities of mostly poor people of color. President Donald Trump made a carefully stage-managed visit to the region on Wednesday, stopping by command centers and aid stations staffed mostly by white people. Predictably, he gave himself and the federal emergency response great grades.

“Trump is coming to visit today, but the negative impact of his policies were visited on the poor and low-wealth long before he came,” the Rev. Barber said. “There are over 4.7 million residents in North Carolina that are poor. There were over a million people in North Carolina, before the storm, that did not have health care. The counties that are being hit the hardest are Tier I and Tier II. Tier I is the most distressed county in terms of housing, health care and poverty, and Tier II is the next level,” he added.

Barber pointed out that “people are looking at what happened on the coast. We actually dodged a bullet on the coast. But if you come inland now, where mostly the poor live, along these rivers, in these rural communities, they are being devastated.” Children aren’t going to school, so they aren’t receiving the daily food they get there. People with hourly wage jobs, living paycheck to paycheck, are not working, so they are not getting paid. “When the governor and others said evacuate, they couldn’t evacuate, because they don’t have the money, they don’t have the cars, they did not have the ability,” Barber stressed. “The president will say he’s going to give federal money. But this state has refused federal money that would have helped the poor prior to the storm, so that they would have buffers against the storm.”

The floodwaters not only drown, but poison and pollute. A complex, toxic brew is unleashed when floods reach and overtop open-air holding ponds that contain either coal ash from coal-fired power plants or manure lagoons at industrial hog farms. Additional toxicity can potentially flow from Superfund sites that dot the Carolinas, and innumerable chemical facilities. Will Hendrick of the Waterkeeper Alliance said, as of late Wednesday, that coal ash breaches had been documented at two of Duke Energy’s North Carolina coal-fired power plants, the Sutton plant near Wilmington and the H.F. Lee plant near Goldsboro, just over 6 miles from the Rev. Barber’s Greenleaf Christian Church. Coal ash contains a slew of heavy metals, which, if consumed, can cause an array of serious health problems, including cancer and birth defects.

Hendrick also reported that at least two hog manure lagoons had been breached, unleashing torrents of pig feces, urine, blood and body parts into the floodwaters and potentially infecting people downstream.

Like President Trump, the Republican majority in the North Carolina Legislature denies climate change, passing a law six years ago prohibiting state and local agencies from making decisions based on the latest climate science about sea level rise. If their deliberations were based on facts and guided by climate justice concerns for the most vulnerable, it’s likely that Wendy Newton, Nicolette Green and a number of other victims of Hurricane Florence would be alive today. –Truthdig

Riding With Grandpa Is More Fun

There was once a grandfather who always made a special effort to spend time with his son's family on weekends.  Every Saturday morning, he would take his 5-year-old granddaughter out for a drive in his car for some quality time including breakfast with pancakes, and later some ice cream.

One particular Saturday, the Grandpa woke up with a terrible cold and could not get out of bed.  He knew his granddaughter always looked forward to their drive and would be very disappointed.  Luckily, Grandma came to the rescue and offered to take the granddaughter for the weekly drive and breakfast.

When they returned, the little girl ran upstairs to see her grandfather, who was still in bed.  "Well, did you enjoy your ride with Grandma?" he  asked.

"Not really.  In fact, it was boring.  We just drove around and Grandma smiled at everyone she saw.  We didn't see a single asshole, queer, piece of shit,  horse's ass, socialist left wing Harper lover, blind  bastard, Muslim camel humper, pecker-head or son of a bitch like you and I do." -Contributed by Ralph

An Experiment In Gratitude | The Science Of Happiness

Low-dose Aspirin Offers No Overall Benefit

by Lenny Bernstein

A regimen of low-dose aspirin offers healthy, older people no benefit in staving off cardiovascular disease, dementia or disability and increases their risk of bleeding in the digestive tract and brain, according to a large study released Sunday.

Millions of healthy people take small doses of aspirin regularly in the belief that the drug will prevent heart attacks and strokes. But when researchers looked at more than 19,000 people in Australia and the United States over nearly five years, they found it wasn’t so.

There is good evidence that taking aspirin can help people with known cardiovascular problems. But it had been unclear whether healthy people older than 70 would derive the same benefit.

“Clinical guidelines note the benefits of aspirin for preventing heart attacks and strokes in persons with vascular conditions such as coronary artery disease,” Richard J. Hodes, director of the National Institute on Aging, which helped fund the research, said in a news release. “The concern has been uncertainty about whether aspirin is beneficial for otherwise healthy older people without those conditions.”

The test subjects, most of them from Australia, were older than 70, except for blacks and Hispanics in the United States, who were recruited at age 65 or older because people in those groups have a higher risk of heart disease and cardiovascular problems than whites. About half of them took 100 milligrams of aspirin daily (slightly more than a baby aspirin, which has 81 milligrams), and the other half were given a placebo. They were followed for a median of 4.7 years.

The results of the study, led by John McNeil of Monash University in Melbourne, were released Sunday in three articles in the New England Journal of Medicine. It was called the Aspirin in Reducing Events in the Elderly (ASPREE) trial.

One surprise for the researchers was that the group that took aspirin died at a slightly higher rate from all causes than the group that did not take it. The difference was attributed almost entirely to cancer, a leading killer of older people, and not internal bleeding. But the researchers interpreted the data cautiously, because other studies have shown aspirin to have a protective effect against colorectal cancer.

The researchers did not state whether healthy older people who have been taking aspirin should stop. And the findings do not apply to black or Hispanic people younger than 65 or others younger than 70.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends that people between the ages of 50 and 59 take low doses of aspirin to prevent cardiovascular problems and colorectal cancer if they have a 10 percent or greater chance of events such as heart attacks and strokes and do not have conditions that increase their chances of bleeding. The risk is generally calculated using factors such as age, blood pressure, cholesterol levels, smoking history and other conditions such as diabetes. For people 60 to 69 with a 10 percent or greater risk of cardiovascular events, the task force considers the decision an individual one. For people older than 70, the task force says it does not have enough information.

When the researchers looked at death, disability and dementia, they found virtually no difference between the aspirin-taking group and the group given a placebo.

But the rate of bleeding was significantly higher in the aspirin group: 3.8 percent vs. 2.8 percent.

“The use of low-dose aspirin resulted in a significantly higher risk of major hemorrhage and did not result in a significantly lower risk of cardiovascular disease than placebo,” the researchers wrote in one of the papers. –WP

Nearly Half Of Republicans Think Trump Should Be Able To Close News Outlets

by Christal Hayes

Nearly half of Republicans surveyed — 44 percent — believe the president should be able to shutter news outlets for "bad behavior," according to a new poll released Tuesday. 

The poll by Ipsos emphasizes the clear divide between party lines when it comes to the role of the media and its coverage of the Trump administration. Twenty-nine percent, nearly a third, of the more than 1,000 people polled said they believed the news media was the enemy of the American people, a phrase that was coined and popularized by President Donald Trump. That number jumps to 48 percent if you just examine Republicans surveyed. 

Trump often rants about the press coverage he gets and has dubbed unflattering stories about him and his administration as "fake news." While 68 percent of Democrats polled believe that reporters try their best to do honest reporting, only 29 percent of Republicans agreed, the poll shows. 

Only 12 percent of Democrats in the poll said they believed the president should have the authority to close news outlets engaged in "bad behavior" but a stark 43 percent of Republicans said this should be a policy. 

But, when asked about whether the president should close down outlets like CNN, The Washington Post and The New York Times, 13 percent of people polled said they believed that should happen, including 8 percent of Democrats, 23 percent of Republicans and 10 percent of Independents. 

But there were some areas that both parties agreed: There was a consensus of 85 percent that a free press is essential for American democracy and of 88 percent that free speech is one of the values that make America great. 

Specifically, when polled about beliefs about coverage of the Trump administration, a large majority of Republicans, 79 percent, believe the mainstream media treats the president unfairly. Another 80 percent said they believed most news outlets had a liberal leaning. Eighty-four percent of Republicans and 33 percent of Democrats believe that the mainstream media is more interested in making money than telling the truth, the poll shows. 

The poll examined opinions toward specific media outlets, finding The Weather Channel, PBS and NBC News led the pack as the most popular between parties, while Fox News, CNN, MSNBC led for the most unpopular among Americans. –USA Today

The Untold Story Of The Movement Launched

by Lindsay Gibbs & Diana Ofosu

What we learned from tracking protests for more than a year.

On August 14, 2016, before the San Francisco 49ers’ first preseason game of the season kicked off, 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick remained seated during the national anthem. It took two more preseason games for anyone to even notice. But when reporters finally spotted Kaepernick on the bench during the Star Spangled Banner on August 26, he got a chance to explain.

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick said. “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

With that, a new era of athlete activism was launched — and since that press conference, more than 3,500 people have joined Kaepernick’s movement. 

According to data tracked by ThinkProgress over the past 13 months, there have been more than 200 protests during the national anthem at sporting events since Kaepernick’s initial protest. This activism has spanned 41 states (including Washington, D.C.) and four countries. 

You can find information on this protest activity in ThinkProgress’ interactive database, and you can contact us here if you think we’re missing an event.

From cheerleaders at Ivy League universities to national anthem singers at NBA and NFL games, from referees of high-school football games in North Carolina to college gymnasts, from Olympic champion swimmers to eight-year-old football players, Kaepernick’s stand has resonated with people from all sides of the sporting landscape.

The movement has received increased attention over the past few days, after President Donald Trump went on an unhinged rant at a rally during which he referred to any NFL player who protested during the anthem as a “son of a bitch” who should be fired. Hundreds more NFL players joined in on the protests last weekend.

But it’s important to remember that for many of the people who are demonstrating during the national anthem, this didn’t start with Trump. For them, this act of protest is about confronting the injustices they deal with on a day in, day out basis.

While the various protests by NFL and NBA players will likely garner the most mainstream media attention, this movement is not limited to professional athletes. ThinkProgress’s database tracks more than 980 people protesting during the national anthem at the elementary, middle, and high school level — demonstrations that are often left out of the national headlines. 

Rodney Axson of Brunswick High School became the first known high-school athlete to join in the protests on September 2, 2016, when he took a knee during the national anthem after he heard his teammates use the “N-word” to describe players on the other team. After he knelt, he was inundated with racist threats in person and via social media, including one Snapchat that said, “Let’s Lynch Ni—ers.” Mason Kaawa-Loa, a senior at Kealakehe High in Kailau-Kona, Hawaii was inspired by Kaepernick to take a knee before football games to protest the injustices Native Hawaiian people experience in the United States. Several members of the girls’ volleyball team at DeSoto High School in Texas took a knee during the national anthem because “the next black man shot could be their dad, brother or boyfriend.”

We want our readers to know about Axson and Kaawa-Loa. We also want you to know about the Beaumont Bulls, a prep team of 11- and-12 year olds in Texas who had their season canceled due to the death threats they received after they took a knee during the anthem. We want you to know that after a few football players and cheerleaders knelt at Bonnabel High School in Louisiana, several members of the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office refused to work voluntary security shifts at future games. And we hope you remember the middle school football coach who was forced to take players who wanted to kneel in protest behind the bleachers while the anthem was played so their game would not be canceled.

As with any movement that starts small and spreads wide, protests during the national anthem have taken different forms across the country. Some people are choosing to remain seated; others are taking a knee; others are raising a fist or a sign with a Black Lives Matter slogan; others are wearing T-shirts with messages in solidarity with Kaepernick; others are locking arms with their teammates while remaining standing. For our tracking purposes, we included everything — any sign of apparent protest during the anthem, whatever the style.

No matter the form, the data is clear about one thing: The protests are spreading, and the movement is growing. 

And this is only the beginning.

“We’re not going to fix this tomorrow. We’re not going to fix this today,” Kelsey Bone, the first WNBA player to take a knee last September, told reporters. “We might not be the ones who benefit from this. But maybe our kids will, maybe our grandkids will.” -Think Progress

Roast Chicken Legs With Lots Of Garlic

  • 4 chicken legs (thigh and drumstick; about 2½ lb. total)
  • Kosher salt
  • 4 heads of garlic, halved crosswise
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced into rounds, seeds removed
  • 1 red chile (such as Fresno), quartered lengthwise, seeds removed if desired
  • 3 bay leaves or 5 sprigs thyme
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Country-style bread, toasted (for serving)

  • Preheat oven to 325°. Place chicken in an 13x9" baking dish and season generously all over with salt. Add garlic, lemon, chile, bay leaves, and a few grinds of pepper. Pour in oil and toss everything to coat. Turn garlic heads cut side down so they are in contact with the baking dish (this will help them brown).
  • Roast chicken, rotating pan once, until meat is almost falling off the bone, 75–90 minutes. Let chicken cool in pan 10 minutes, then serve with bread.

Dec 16, 2018

Peace On Earth

O Holy Night - Josh Groban

Happy Kwanzaa!

The Kwanzaa Song - NGUZO SABA The Seven Principles

Nov 25, 2018

Persecution Of Homosexuals

While male homosexuality remained illegal in Weimar Germany under Paragraph 175 of the criminal code, German homosexual-rights activists became worldwide leaders in efforts to reform societal attitudes that condemned homosexuality. Many in Germany regarded the Weimar Republic's toleration of homosexuals as a sign of Germany's decadence. The Nazis posed as moral crusaders who wanted to stamp out the "vice" of homosexuality from Germany in order to help win the racial struggle. Once they took power in 1933, the Nazis intensified persecution of German male homosexuals. Persecution ranged from the dissolution of homosexual organizations to internment in concentration camps.

The Nazis persecuted homosexuals as part of their so-called moral crusade to racially and culturally purify Germany. Gay men were targeted for persecution because they did not contribute to the desired growth of the 'Aryan population' and were viewed as corrupting German values and culture. Between 1933 and 1945, an estimated 100,000 men were arrested for violating Nazi Germany’s law against homosexuality, and of these, approximately 50,000 were sentenced to prison. An estimated 5,000 to 15,000 men were sent to concentration camps on similar charges, where an unknown number of them perished.

SS chief Heinrich Himmler directed the increasing persecution of homosexuals in the Third Reich. Lesbians were not regarded as a threat to Nazi racial policies and were generally not targeted for persecution. Similarly, the Nazis generally did not target non-German homosexuals unless they were active with German partners. In most cases, the Nazis were prepared to accept homosexuals into the 'racial community' provided that they became "racially conscious" and did not act according to their natural inclination.

On May 6, 1933, students led by Storm Troopers (Sturmabteilung; SA) broke into the Institute for Sexual Science in Berlin and confiscated its unique library. Four days later, most of this collection of over 12,000 books and 35,000 irreplaceable pictures was destroyed along with thousands of other "degenerate" works of literature in the book burning in Berlin's city center. The remaining materials were never recovered. Magnus Hirschfeld, the founder of the Institute and a pioneer in the scientific study of human sexuality, was lecturing in France at the time and chose not to return to Germany.

The destruction of the Institute was a first step toward eradicating an openly gay or lesbian culture from Germany. Police closed bars and clubs such as the "Eldorado" and banned publications such as Die Freundschaft (Friendship). In this early stage the Nazis drove homosexuals underground, destroying their networks of support. 

In 1934, the Gestapo (secret state police) instructed local police forces to keep lists of all men engaged in homosexual activities. Police in many parts of Germany had in fact been doing this for years. The Nazis used these "pink lists" to hunt down individual homosexuals during police actions.

On June 28, 1935, the Ministry of Justice revised Paragraph 175. The revisions provided a legal basis for extending Nazi persecution of homosexuals. Ministry officials expanded the category of "criminally indecent activities between men" to include any act that could be construed as homosexual. The courts later decided that even intent or thought sufficed. On October 26, 1936, Himmler formed within the Security Police the Reich Central Office for Combating Homosexuality and Abortion. Josef Meisinger, executed in 1947 for his brutality in occupied Poland, led the new office. The police had powers to hold in protective custody or preventive arrest those deemed dangerous to Germany's moral fiber, jailing indefinitely—without trial—anyone they chose. In addition, homosexual prisoners just released from jail were immediately re-arrested and sent to concentration camps if the police thought it likely that they would continue to engage in homosexual acts.

From 1937 to 1939, the peak years of the Nazi persecution of homosexuals, the police increasingly raided homosexual meeting places, seized address books, and created networks of informers and undercover agents to identify and arrest suspected homosexuals. On April 4, 1938, the Gestapo issued a directive indicating that men convicted of homosexuality could be incarcerated in concentration camps. Between 1933 and 1945 the police arrested an estimated 100,000 men as homosexuals. Most of the 50,000 men sentenced by the courts spent time in regular prisons, and between 5,000 and 15,000 were interned in concentration camps.

The Nazis interned some homosexuals in concentration camps immediately after the seizure of power in January 1933. Those interned came from all areas of German society, and often had only the cause of their imprisonment in common. Some homosexuals were interned under other categories by mistake, and the Nazis purposefully miscategorized some political prisoners as homosexuals. Prisoners marked by pink triangles to signify homosexuality were treated harshly in the camps. According to many survivor accounts, homosexuals were among the most abused groups in the camps.

Because some Nazis believed homosexuality was a sickness that could be cured, they designed policies to "cure" homosexuals of their "disease" through humiliation and hard work. Guards ridiculed and beat homosexual prisoners upon arrival, often separating them from other inmates. Rudolf Hoess, commandant of Auschwitz, wrote in his memoirs that homosexuals were segregated in order to prevent homosexuality from spreading to other inmates and guards. Personnel in charge of work details in the Dora-Mittelbau underground rocket factory or in the stone quarries at Flossenbürg and Buchenwald often gave deadly assignments to homosexuals.

Survival in camps took on many forms. Some homosexual inmates secured administrative and clerical jobs. For other prisoners, sexuality became a means of survival. In exchange for sexual favors, some Kapos protected a chosen prisoner, usually of young age, giving him extra food and shielding him from the abuses of other prisoners. Homosexuals themselves very rarely became Kapos due to the lack of a support network. Kapo guardianship was no protection against the guards' brutality, of course. In any case, the Kapo often tired of an individual, sometimes killing him and finding another on the next transport. Though individual homosexual inmates could secure a measure of protection in some ways, as a group homosexual prisoners lacked the support network common to other groups. Without this help in mitigating brutality, homosexual prisoners were unlikely to survive long.

One avenue of survival available to some homosexuals was castration, which some criminal justice officials advocated as a way of "curing" sexual deviance. Homosexual defendants in criminal cases or concentration camps could agree to castration in exchange for lower sentences. Later, judges and SS camp officials could order castration without the consent of a homosexual prisoner.

Nazis interested in finding a "cure" for homosexuality expanded this program to include medical experimentation on homosexual inmates of concentration camps. These experiments caused illness, mutilation, and even death, and yielded no scientific knowledge.

There are no known statistics for the number of homosexuals who died in the camps.

Nazi Racial Ideology

The Holocaust

The Holocaust is an event central to our understanding of western civilization, the nation state, modern bureaucratic society, and human nature. It was the premeditated mass murder of millions of innocent civilians. Driven by a racist ideology that regarded Jews as “parasitic vermin” worthy only of eradication, the Nazis implemented genocide on an unprecedented scale. They slated all of Europe's Jews for destruction: the sick and the healthy, the rich and the poor, the religiously orthodox and converts to Christianity, the aged and the young, even infants.

About two out of every three Jews living in Europe before the war were killed in the Holocaust. When World War II ended in 1945, six million European Jews were dead; more than one million of the victims were children. Even this statistic is misleading, because most of those who survived resided in areas of Europe not occupied by Germany during the war: eastern areas of the Soviet Union, Great Britain, Bulgaria, and neutral states like Spain, Portugal, Switzerland, and Sweden. Tens of thousands of Jews also survived in German-occupied Europe mostly in hiding or as prisoners in concentration camps until liberation. The Germans and their collaborators were relentless in hunting down and killing Jews in the areas of Europe that they controlled.

Much has been written about what took place during the era of the Holocaust and where, when, and how the Nazis carried out their murderous plans. To begin to comprehend the Nazis' actions, however, one must first consider and understand the theoretical underpinnings that led them to conceive of such plans in the first place. Examining the Nazi ideology of race partly explains this relentless commitment to the physical annihilation of the European Jews.

The Nazi Ideology of Race

Adolf Hitler, the Führer (Leader) of the Nazi Party, formulated and articulated the ideas that came to be known as Nazi ideology. He thought of himself as a deep and profound thinker, convinced that he had found the key to understanding an extraordinarily complex world.

Hitler believed that a person's characteristics, attitudes, abilities, and behavior were determined by his or her so-called racial make-up. In Hitler's view, all groups, races, or peoples (he used those terms interchangeably) carried within them traits that were passed from one generation to the next. No individual could overcome the qualities of race. All of human history could be explained in terms of racial struggle.

In formulating their ideology of race, Hitler and the Nazis drew upon the ideas of the German social Darwinists of the late 19th century. Like the social Darwinists before them, the Nazis believed that human beings could be classified collectively as “races,” with each race bearing distinctive characteristics that had been passed on genetically since the first appearance of humans in prehistoric times. These inherited characteristics related not only to outward appearance and physical structure, but also shaped internal mental life, ways of thinking, creative and organizational abilities, intelligence, taste and appreciation of culture, physical strength, and military prowess.

The Nazis also adopted the social Darwinist take on Darwinian evolutionary theory regarding the “survival of the fittest.” For the Nazis, survival of a race depended upon its ability to reproduce and multiply, its accumulation of land to support and feed that expanding population, and its vigilance in maintaining the purity of its gene pool, thus preserving the unique “racial” characteristics with which “nature” had equipped it for success in the struggle to survive. Since each “race” sought to expand, and since the space on the earth was finite, the struggle for survival resulted “naturally” in violent conquest and military confrontation. Hence, war—even constant war—was a part of nature, a part of the human condition.

To define a race, the social Darwinists affixed stereotypes, both positive and negative, of ethnic group appearance, behavior, and culture. These stereotypes were allegedly unchangeable and rooted in biological inheritance. They remained unchanged over time and were immune to changes in environment, intellectual development, or socialization. For the Nazis, assimilation of a member of one race into another culture or ethnic group was impossible because the original inherited traits could not change: they could only degenerate through so-called race-mixing.

Targeted Groups

The Nazis defined Jews as a “race.” Regarding the Jewish religion as irrelevant, the Nazis attributed a wide variety of negative stereotypes about Jews and “Jewish” behavior to an unchanging biologically determined heritage that drove the “Jewish race,” like other races, to struggle to survive by expansion at the expense of other races.

While it classified Jews as the priority “enemy,” the Nazi ideological concept of race targeted other groups for persecution, imprisonment, and annihilation. These groups included Roma (Gypsies), people with disabilities, Poles, Soviet prisoners of war, and Afro-Germans. The Nazis also identified political dissidents, Jehovah’s Witnesses, homosexuals, and so-called asocials as enemies and security risks either because they consciously opposed the Nazi regime or some aspect of their behavior did not fit Nazi perceptions of social norms. They sought to eliminate domestic non-conformists and so-called racial threats through a perpetual self-purge of German society.

The Nazis believed that superior races had not just the right but the obligation to subdue and even exterminate inferior ones. They believed that this struggle of races was consistent with the law of nature. The Nazis pursued a strategic vision of a dominant German race ruling subject peoples, especially the Slavs and the so-called Asiatics (by which they meant the peoples of Soviet Central Asia and the Muslim populations of the Caucasus region), whom they judged to be innately inferior. For purposes of propaganda, the Nazis often framed this strategic vision in terms of a crusade to save western civilization from these “eastern” or “Asiatic” barbarians and their Jewish leaders and organizers.

The Racially Defined Collective

For Hitler and other leaders of Nazi movement, the ultimate value of a human being lay not in his or her individuality, but in his or her membership in a racially defined collective group. The ultimate purpose of a racial collective was to ensure its own survival. Most people would agree that humans have an individual instinct for survival, but Hitler went on to assume a collective instinct for survival centered on membership in a group, a people, or a race (using these terms interchangeably). For the Nazis, this collective instinct for survival always involved safeguarding the purity of the “race” and the struggle with competing “races” for territory.

Maintaining race purity was important, according to Hitler and others, because mixing with other races would over time led to bastardization and degeneration of a race to the point where it lost its distinguishing characteristics and, in effect, lost the capacity to effectively defend itself, thus becoming doomed to extinction. Territory was vital, Hitler insisted, because the expanding population of a race required it. Without new territory to support an expanding population, Hitler believed the race would ultimately stagnate and face eventual disappearance.

Nazi racial ideology also included the idea of a qualitative hierarchy of races, in which not all races were equal. Hitler believed that Germans were members of a superior group of races that he called “Aryan.” The German “Aryan” race was gifted above all other races, Hitler asserted, with this biological superiority destining the Germans to rule a vast empire across Eastern Europe.

The "Aryan" Race

But, Hitler warned, the German “Aryan” race was threatened by dissolution from within and without. The internal threat lurked in intermarriages between “Aryan” Germans and members of inherently inferior races: Jews, Roma, Africans, and Slavs. The offspring of these marriages were said to dilute the superior characteristics reflected in German blood, thus weakening the race in its struggle against other races for survival.

The interwar German state further weakened the German “Aryan” race by tolerating procreation among people whom the Nazis considered genetically degenerate and a harmful influence on the hygiene of the race as a whole: 

people with physical and mental disabilities, habitual or career criminals, and persons who compulsively engaged in socially “deviant behavior” as the Nazis perceived it, including homeless people, allegedly promiscuous women, people unable to hold a job, or alcoholics, among others.

The German “Aryan” race was also threatened with dissolution from without, because, according to Hitler, the Weimar Republic was losing the competition for land and population to the “inferior” Slavic and Asiatic races. In this competition, the “Jewish race” had refined its traditional Socialist tool—Soviet communism—to mobilize the otherwise incapable Slavs and to deceive Germans into thinking that the artificial device of class conflict overrode the natural instinct of racial struggle. Hitler believed that the lack of living space suppressed the birthrate among Germans to dangerously low levels. To make matters worse, Germany had lost World War I and had been forced by the Treaty of Versailles to give up thousands of miles of valuable land to its neighbors.

To survive, Hitler contended, Germany must break the encirclement of the country by its enemies and conquer vast territories in the east from the Slavs. The conquest of the east would provide Germany with the space required to vastly expand its population, with the resources to feed that population, and with the means to realize the biological destiny of being a master race with the appropriate status of a world power.

Elimination of Racial Enemies

Hitler and the Nazi Party outlined their racial enemies in clear and unequivocal terms. For Hitler and the Nazis, the Jews represented a priority enemy both within and outside Germany. Their allegedly racial and inferior genetic makeup spawned the exploitative systems of capitalism and communism. In their drive to expand, the Jews promoted and used these systems of government and state organization, including constitutions, proclamations of equal rights, and international peace, to undermine the race-consciousness of superior races like the German race. They diluted superior blood through assimilation and intermarriage.

The Nazis claimed that Jews used tools which were under their control or subject to their manipulation to advance their biologically driven expansion to world power. Among these tools were, allegedly, the media, parliamentary democracy along with its focus on individual rights, and international organizations dedicated to peaceful reconciliation of national conflicts. If Germany did not act decisively against the Jews both at home and abroad, Hitler claimed, hordes of subhuman, uncivilized Slavs and Asiatics that the Jews could mobilize would sweep away the “Aryan” German race.

For Hitler, government intervention to segregate the races, to promote the reproduction of those with the “best” characteristics, to prevent the reproduction of those with inferior characteristics, and to prepare for wars of expansion brought the German nation in line with its natural, biologically determined instinct to survive. In addition it fostered a “natural” race consciousness among the German people, a consciousness that the Jews sought to suppress through parliamentary democracy, international agreements on cooperation, and class conflict. By virtue of their racial superiority, Germans had the right and the duty, Hitler believed, to seize territory in the east from Slavs, “Asiatics,” and their Jewish puppet masters. By pursuing these aims, Hitler insisted, Germans followed their own natural instincts. To defeat and dominate the Slavs permanently, the German masters had to annihilate the leadership classes of the region and the Jews, who were the only “race” capable of organizing the inferior races through a brutalizing Bolshevik-Communist doctrine that was a biologically fixed “Jewish” ideology.

The Nazis believed that eliminating this "threat" to German survival meant eliminating the people who were labeled by racial ideology as the standard-bearers of that threat. Hitler believed that this was the way nature worked. In the end, Hitler's program of war and genocide stemmed from what he saw as an equation: "Aryan" Germans would have to expand and dominate, a process requiring the elimination of all racial threats—especially the Jews—or else they would face extinction themselves. 

Trans People Killed in 2018

by Trudy Ring

Christa Leigh Steele-Knudslien

Transgender Americans are facing an epidemic of violence. Twenty-seven trans people, mostly women of color, were murdered in the U.S. in 2017, tying it with 2016 as the deadliest year on record. Of course, the number of victims in any given year is likely much higher, given that some are misgendered by police or media, and some homicides not reported at all.

As of mid-October 2018, 22 homicides of trans Americans have been reported. The first known victim was Christa Leigh Steele-Knudslien, 42, of North Adams, Mass. The founder of the Miss Trans America and Miss Trans New England pageants, she was stabbed to death at her home January 5. Her husband, Mark S. Steele-Knudslien, 47, has been charged with her murder. He turned himself in to police the same night, saying he had done "something very bad," and describing details of the crime, but he pleaded not guilty the following week in Northern Berkshire District Court. He is awaiting trial. 

Viccky Gutierrez

Viccky Gutierrez, 33, was stabbed to death at her home in Los Angeles January 10. Firefighters were called to a fire at the building early that day and discovered her body. Gutierrez, an immigrant from Honduras, was described as "a beautiful soul who was really nice to everyone and would offer any type of support when someone would need it" by friends who set up a crowdfunding page to raise money for funeral expenses. She was active in the L.A. trans community, working with the Los Angeles LGBT Center on Transgender Day of Remembrance events. A few days after her death, Los Angeles police arrested Kevyn Ramirez, 29.  Police said he admitted to stabbing Gutierrez and setting the fire. He is charged with murder during the commission of an attempted robbery, plus two counts of arson, while police continue to try to determine his motive and whether the murder was a hate crime.

Zakaria Fry

Zakaria Fry, 28, went missing from her home in Albuquerque, N.M., January 18, along with her housemate, Eugene Carroll Ray, 70. Their bodies were found February 19 in trash bins in a rural part of New Mexico; both had died of blunt force trauma to the head and face, police said. It is not clear exactly when they were killed. Albuquerque police arrested Charles Anthony Spiess, 27, who is also known by the name James Knight, February 27, and the next day he was charged with the murder of both Fry and Ray, along with a charge of tampering with evidence. Police said he may have lived with the victims for a time. “It's a massive case and there's a lot of connections there. But the main thing is we’re asking the public if they ever saw these three together,” Albuquerque Police Department public information officer Simon Drobik told the Albuquerque Journal. Friends of Fry's described her lovingly. “You were such a fun and positive person despite all the challenges you faced in life,” Tara Yvonne wrote on Facebook. “You were a brave, strong and inspirational woman. Your spirit lives on and you are missed by many. May you rest in peace.”

Celine Walker

Celine Walker, 36, was found shot to death in a hotel room in Jacksonville, Fla., February 4. A friend, Naomi Michaels, wrote on Facebook that Walker “lived a low key life where she did whatever needed to be done in order for her to survive” and “was not a pageant girl” or a clubgoer. The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office misgendered and deadnamed her when reporting her death, with officials saying they do not identify people as transgender. Activists have called for a change in the policy, which may have delayed the investigation of the crime. No one has been arrested for her murder yet, and police have revealed no details of their investigation. Some friends suspect her murder was an anti-trans hate crime.

Tonya Harvey

Tonya Harvey, 35, was fatally shot on a dead-end street in Buffalo, N.Y., February 6. Social media posts by friends described Harvey, who sometimes went by the nickname “Kita,” as “sweet and loving” and “the black Cameron Diaz.” Police and the Erie County District Attorney's office are continuing to investigate her murder, including the possibility that it was a hate crime. Activists pointed out the widespread violence against trans people. “There is a very real epidemic of violence targeting the transgender community, particularly those who live at the intersection of transphobia, racism, and misogyny,” Damian Mordecai, executive director of the Pride Center of Western New York, told The Buffalo News.

Remembering Others

Phylicia Mitchell

Phylicia Mitchell, 45, died February 23 after being shot in the chest outside her home in Cleveland. She and partner Shane Mitchell had been together for about 30 years, ever since Phylicia fled her less-than-accepting family in Pittsburgh. They were not legally married, but they had an unofficial ceremony last May in which she took his last name. Phylicia earned a high school equivalency disploma and worked as a hairstylist, and Shane did odd jobs. Shane said their relationship endured and even became stronger through hard times, including periods of homelessness. “I miss her tremendously,” he told Cleveland's Plain Dealer. “That’s my soul mate. We went together everywhere. We did everything together. We always held hands on the bus. Years ago people didn’t respect that, but they do now.”

In April, Cleveland police issued a warrant for the arrest of Gary Lamar Sanders, 36, in connection with Mitchell's death. He was placed on Ohio's Most Wanted List and was finally apprehended by the U.S. Marshals Service in July in West Virginia, where he had been living for more than a month. He is charged with aggravated murder.

Amia Tyrae Berryman

Amia Tyrae Berryman, 28, was found shot to death at the Shades Motel in Baton Rouge, La., early in the morning of March 26. Police so far have no suspects and are continuing to investigate. Berryman's family declined to speak to local media.

Sasha Wall

Sasha Wall, 29, was found shot to death in her car along a rural road in Chesterfield County, S.C., the morning of April 1. She had been shot several times in the neck and shoulder. Police believe she knew her killer and that her death was likely the result of a domestic dispute. Wall, who lived in a mobile home near Pageland, S.C., was remembered fondly by friends on social media. On Facebook, Donovan Dunlap recalled taking photos of her, saying, “You stayed ready for the camera. I will miss you my beautiful sister. I cannot sleep. I hope they find who did this.”

Carla Patricia Flores-Pavon

Carla Patricia Flores-Pavon was strangled to death in her Dallas apartment May 9. Police found her unconscious about 4 p.m. at her apartment, Dallas TV station KTVT reports. She was pronounced dead at a local hospital. A witness reportedly saw a man fleeing the scene. Dallas police said they do not believe her death was a hate crime. The are some discrepancies in the details about Flores-Pavon. KTVT listed her age as 26, but the Dallas Voice gave it as 18. Also, while police spelled her first name as Carla, her Facebook page spelled it Karla.“You were a good person,” her friend Gia York Herrera wrote on Facebook, also noting that the loss ”harts so much.”  (This is a translation; the original post was in Spanish.) York Herrera added, “God give comfort to your family and friends” and “I send you a hug and a kiss as always.” Police arrested a suspect in Flores-Pavon’s murder, Jimmy Eugene Johnson II, 24, near Huntsville, Texas, May 17. Johnson, who was arrested during a traffic stop, had items from Flores-Pavon’s apartment in his car, so police believe his motive was robbery and not anti-transgender bias. He is charged with murder.

Nino Fortson

Nino Fortson, a 36-year-old transgender man, was shot to death in Atlanta May 13. Fortson was involved in an argument with two men and two women on the street, The Atlanta Jounral-Constitution reports. A witness said he fired a small gun into the air but then walked away. But a few minutes later, the witness heard more gunshots and then saw him lying on the ground, as one of the other people involved in the dispute limped away. Fortson died shortly afterward at Grady Memorial Hospital. Initial media reports misgendered Fortson. Something called out by friends and allies social media. The Atlanta Police Department responded with this statement: “Our preliminary investigation did not in any way indicate that this individual identified as transgender. And we have no evidence at all that such an identification played any role in this death. But given the issues that have been raised publicly, we have engaged our LGBT liaisons and asked them to work with our homicide unit to see if there are angles that need to be explored.”

Gigi Pierce

Gigi Pierce, 28, was shot to death in Portland, Ore., the night of May 21. She was from Boise, Idaho, and it wasn't clear how long she had been in Portland. Sophia Grace Adler, 33, has been arrested and charged with Pierce's murder; she has pleaded not guilty. Witnesses and police said there had been an altercation between the two prior to the shooting. A friend remembered Pierce as someone “full of life, always trying to help somebody.”


Antash’a English, 38, was shot to death  in Jacksonville, Fla., June 1. On a city street, she was shot in the abdomen by someone firing from a vehicle. She died at a local hospital. “She was an unapologetic, bold, and loyal person,” friend Taliyah Smith told Firs Coast News, a program of stations WTLV and WJXX. English had won several pageants and performed regularly at local nightclub InCahoots. Police are continuing to investigate her murder.

Diamond Stephens

Diamond Stephens, 39, was shot to death June 18 while driving home. She was shot in the back of the head, causing her van to crash into a house. She was not identified as transgender until a month later because police and local news outlets misgendered and deadnamed her. Police, who have yet to identify a suspect, say there may have been others in the car with her. Her family is devastated. “We are hurting really bad,” Stephens’s cousin Georgia Brown told Mississippi TV station WTOK. “I don’t really know what words to say other than we need God to help us and give us strength to make it through this situation and pray to God that whoever did this is found.”

Catalina Christina James

Catalina Christina James was the third transgender woman murdered in Jacksonville this year, leading some to suspect a serial killer is at work. James, from Bishopville, S.C.,  was shot to death outside a Quality Inn and Suites motel June 24. The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office continued its practice of not using trans victims' preferred names. James's mother described her to First Coast News as the life of the party, with a love of travel and dancing.

Keisha Wells

Keisha Wells, 58, was found dead in the parking lot of an apartment complex June 24 in Cleveland, the second trans woman murdered in the city this year. She had suffered a gunshot wound to the abdomen. Her best friend, Sheila Jones, described her to the Plain Dealer as "a tough cookie" but "the nicest person ever." Wells loved dressing up and frequenting nightclubs, Jones added. But she also had suffered a great deal of loss, as her mother and brother had died recently, and her sister has been in a coma for the past year, Jones said. Police found 11 bullet casings at the crime scene and are continuing to investigate.

Sasha Garden

Sasha Garden, 27, was found dead at an Orlando apartment complex July 19. 

Garden, an advocate for transgender women and outreach coordinator for the HIV and AIDS organization Miracle of Love, was a sex worker saving money to transition and become a hairstylist. Garden was known for an outgoing spirit. "She was a firecracker – very outspoken," said Montrese Williams, who houses transgender women involved in sex work, providing free condoms, water bottles, and HIV testing. "She didn’t hold her tongue for anyone or anybody. Her womanhood was one of those things she stood up for. She didn’t tolerate any disrespect at all."

Dejanay Stanton

Dejanay Stanton, 24, was shot to death early in the morning of August 30 on the south side of Chicago. She was found in an alley, with a gunshot wound to her head, and pronounced dead at a nearby hospital. Police initially did not know her name and identified her as "Jane Doe," but friends who saw her photo on social media confirmed her identity as Dejanay Stanton. 

“She was so sweet. Every time you saw her she had a smile on her face," said LaSaia Wade, executive director of Brave Space Alliance. “She was just trying to live her best life as a young girl.” Police have yet to make an arrest but are continuing to investigate.

Vontashia Bell

Vontashia Bell, 18, suffered a fatal gunshot wound August 30 in Shreveport, La. She was found on the street early that morning and pronounced dead at a local hospital. Police and media misgendered her, but a Louisiana activist organization identified her correctly. Bell’s death “is a reminder of the current climate and national discourse on trans issues,” said the release from Louisiana Trans Advocates. “Dehumanizing language and actions lower the barriers to this kind of senseless violence.” The group called on city and state officials to condemn anti-trans discrimination and violence and to work against institutional racism. Police have yet to make an arrest but have asked the public for help in identifying a suspect.

Shantee Tucker

Shantee Tucker, 30, was shot to death September 5 on a Philadelphia street by someone firing from inside a pickup truck. Witnesses had seen her arguing with the person in the truck just before she was shot, and police believe she knew her killer. The police also said they don't think the attack was motivated by her gender identity, but her friends and trans activists don't agree. Friends recalled Tucker, who worked in a beauty supply store, as a sincere and down-to-earth person. Philly police are seeking the public's help in finding her killer; they ask that anyone with information call the homicide unit at (215) 686-3334.

London Moore

London Moore, 20, was found shot to death September 8 in North Port, Fla. Her car was found the next day at a different location. Police said the crime was an isolated incident and that they believe she knew her killer, who remains at large. Activists pointed out, however, that there is an epidemic of violence against trans Americans, especially women of color, and said Moore's death should be investigated as a hate crime. Police said they are reserving judgment but have not ruled out that possibility.

Nikki Enriquez

Nikki Enriquez, 28, of Laredo, Texas, was found dead near Interstate 35 in south Texas September 15. She has been shot in the head. Juan David Ortiz, 35, an intelligence supervisor for the U.S. Border Patrol, is charged with murdering Enriquez and three other women. Police and prosecutors are calling the murders a serial killing spree in which Ortiz singled out sex workers. They have not ruled out the possibility that there are other victims. Enriquez, so far the only known transgender victim, was described by family members as “very outgoing,” “always smiling,” and “loved by the gay community.” 

Ciara Minaj Carter Frazier

Ciara Minaj Carter Frazier, 31, was stabbed to death in Chicago the night of October 3. She was found in the backyard of an abandoned house and pronounced dead at the scenc. Police believe her killer was a man she had been arguing with at the house, but they have yet to apprehend him. Her death came just over a month after the fatal shooting of transgender Chicagoan Deejay Stanton. “It feels like we are being targeted,” LaSaia Wade, executive director of Chicago trans organization Brave Space Alliance, told the Chicago Sun-Times. She knew Frazier through the local ball scene. “I’m frustrated and upset with the lack of cases turning around,” she continued. “There is a lack of [concern for] our safety from police.”