Waymon Hudson

Another young gay person murdered in South Florida

Filed By Waymon Hudson | May 02, 2008 10:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Living, Politics
Tags: domestic violence, Florida, Fort Lauderdale, hate crimes against LGBT people

Another black gay youth has been gunned down in Fort Lauderdale. Shanesa Conaway, 22, was shot to death on April 26 during a domestic dispute between her partner, Shameca Davis and Kevin Cartwright, the father of Davis' two children.

Conaway and Davis had a commitment ceremony on Valentines this year and had been raising Davis's two children together. Witnesses and family members say that one of the big issues Cartwright had with Davis was her relationship with Conaway. Police are not investigating this as a hate crime, however, but as a domestic dispute.

The shooting occurred only blocks away from where Simmie Williams, an openly gay teen, was killed in February. The shooting has again brought attention to the need for the LGBT community and the Black community to come together in open dialogue in South Florida and around the country.

"I don't think there has been enough outcry in the community about this," Marsha Ellison, president of the Broward NAACP, said. "We don't want to talk about it. We don't want to acknowledge that gay people exist."

Denise King, mother of Simmie Williams, is involved in the efforts to organize a unity march that would bring together both communities. The South Florida LGBT community has become increasingly galvanized and unified in recent times, in response to both Mayor Naugle of Fort Lauderdale and the recent string of anti-gay hate crimes in the area.

Both Conaway and Williams were young, open, and dressed against "gender norms". These murders again highlight the need to reach out to vulnerable minority LGBT youth across the country. The statistics clearly show that the majority of those that suffer from violence are young, minority, gender variant members of the LGBT community.

This was not just a domestic dispute, but the direct result of ingrained discrimination and hatred against the LGBT community. It is time we started bridging the gaps between our communities and come together to stop the violence that faces many of our young people.


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Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | May 2, 2008 10:17 AM

Waymon, this is the kind of posting that breaks your heart. The surviving partner has probably just lost half the income and all of the support in raising her children as she grieves the loss of her partner.

If ever there were a time to "think globally and act locally" this would be one. How is the local media playing this in Ft Lauderdale?

The local media is predictably downplaying the gay aspect of this story. The two women are not referred to as "partners" or as having any kind of relationship in mainstream media. The gay media is covering it a bit better.

The issues of lack of survivor benefits, minority violence, the lack of visibility of the LGBT community in the local black community, and many other important aspects of the story are simply glossed over as well.

As soon as I get information on how our readers can help the surviving partner (with donations to help defray the costs of the funeral, etc), I will be sure to pass it along.

It occurs to me that many LGBT vacation companies begin their cruises out of Fort Lauderdale. Surely they would do the community a service by offering donations to the survivors--and perhaps some money towards the broader solution of decreasing crimes against LGBT people in the area?

This is tragic, for someone to die this young.

Senseless. Thanks for reporting this.

Domestic violence is something that affects the LGBT community, but I've never seen a thorough discussion of it at TBP. May I suggest a discussion of it, and the resources available to deal with it?

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | May 4, 2008 1:37 PM

Yeah Dana, there are a lot of gay cruises out of Ft Lawdy, but they are already at twice the price of an equivalent open cruise on the same boat. I have compared. I and my partner prefer being the gay odd couple in these scenarios. The Gay participants go straight from the airport to the dock unless they are locals. Cruise lines are corporations my dear. There would need to be a reason for them to admit that there is violence against gays in a "gay friendly" city.

Their reason is to sell boat tickets at twice the price. How much conscience do you think they have?

Well, they don't need to have a conscience (although I'd like to think there are _some_ socially responsible corporations out there, too). They just need to have a marketing team that realizes it would be good for their image to be seen as doing something to deal with this issue, even if it doesn't directly affect their plane-to-boat guests.

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | May 5, 2008 10:57 AM

Dana, their marketing team will do everything they can to not even recognize a problem exists. As Waymon points out, the local media is not even acknowledging it is a Gay hate crime.