Bil Browning

Transwoman and her boyfriend murdered in Indianapolis

Filed By Bil Browning | December 28, 2008 6:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: alternative lifestyle, gay men, hate crimes against LGBT people, Indianapolis, trans killing

Updated at the end of the post

Two Indianapolis residents were killed over the holidays. While details aren't definite, it would appear one or both individuals were specifically targeted. MichaelHuntandAveryElzy.jpgIf the double slaying is a hate crime, nothing will be done about it. Indiana doesn't have a hate crimes law; instead we have a "hate crimes reporting" law, but there is no recourse if police departments don't report to the state. The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department stopped documenting hate crimes years ago.

Michael Hunt, 22, and Avery Elzy, 34, were found shot to death in "a bedroom." A dog in the room was also killed. While any murder is horrific, the IMPD's statements and news coverage of the homicide have been particularly heinous. Once again, Indianapolis is proving to the LGBT community that our city isn't sensitive to our concerns, lacks basic knowledge of our needs, and could absolutely care less.

In a video released by the local NBC affiliate, Lt. Kevin Kelley can be seen stating "the two individuals did live an alternative lifestyle" at a press conference yesterday. I attempted to contact Lt. Kelley three different times today to ask for clarification of his "alternative lifestyle" comment, without response from anyone at IMPD.

More after the jump.

Another aspect I'm uncomfortable with is several news media reports that the victims were both men. While NBC and ABC use gender neutral language, FOX, CBS and the Indianapolis Star identify them as "two men."

While I didn't know either victim and know nothing more than what has been reported, I'd bet my bottom dollar that Elzy is transgender. This leads me to one obvious question. If she is trans, has the media not only incorrectly identified her gender, but also released her picture under her male name? (As far as I've seen reported, IMPD referred to Hunt and Elzy as "individuals" without assigning gender.) Of course, both victims were obviously not considered consequential since mug shot photos were released to the media instead of the usual family-supplied photo.

Instead, as is often the case in Indianapolis, all remote mentions of the LGBT community is silently being swept under the rug. When two elderly gay men were murdered earlier this year, police didn't identify the victims' sexuality and refused to discuss whether the double slaying was a hate crime. The media rewrote their posted stories - the two progressed from roommates, to a gay couple, and finally into a caregiver relationship (the correct relationship). After a suspect was arrested in California, the IMPD announced the arrest but refused to release any details about the motive.

In this situation, while the crimes don't appear to be similar, there is one glaring similarity:

From the Indianapolis Star:

Police continued to withhold information about the cause of their deaths pending autopsy results.

Investigators also said they remain uncertain of the motive.

From FOX:

Metro police won't say how 34-year-old Avery Elzy or 22-year-old Mike Hunt were killed, nor will they say when they think the crime occurred.

"The manner of death and the cause of death at this time is under seal by the coroner's office," said Lt. Kevin Kelly.

Instead of reassuring the LGBT community - or warning of the possibility of further violence - IMPD has clammed up again. While I would normally understand the decision to wait for a Coroner's report, after the last incident I'm less inclined to be satisfied with non-answers from the IMPD and rampant speculation in the LGBT community. Instead, media reports have specifically said one or both were specifically targeted for attack.

Indianapolis LGBT residents live under fear of constant attack. We have no protections. Police statewide have been blatantly obvious about defying state regulation on anti-gay hate crimes.

Was it a hate crime? Was it robbery? No one knows - especially in the LGBT community. Instead, we live with the uncomfortable fear for our safety.

The recent double homicide doesn't reassure the LGBT community in the least. While IMPD has the decency to refrain from assigning gender, the "alternative lifestyle" phrase does nothing but raise a red flag to locals. We are days away from 2009 - not 1989.

LayiaLovely.jpgWith no motive released, a complete lack of understanding of LGBT issues, and a previous record of whitewashing LGBT concerns, is it any wonder some in our community are spinning their own nightmares?

Police have announced they are looking for a blue 2001 Mercury Sable with doors that open similar to a Lamborghini. The car has the phrase "Sexy and Independent" written on the back in distinctive writing. It also has twenty two inch custom rims and monitors in the head rests. The Indiana license plate number is KW1329.

UPDATE: Elzy has been identified in the comments section as Layia Lovely. Hunt was her boyfriend. Layia presented as female and was involved in sex work. Police have not confirmed this information or included it as a possible motive. I have changed the title of the post to reflect this new information.

UPDATE 2: This post has a follow-up post "The Media, the Legislature and the Police Are Guilty Too" written after this post started generating media attention.


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The more I read of being demonized by the religious right and FOX news, I am conviced it will get worse. I took off my auto Gay pride stickers and HRC equal sticker. Gay owned cars here in California are getting shot at and lesbians being gang raped.

no my uncle was nto gay they just lived together this whole thing happend cus she was going to mess with another dood my uncle was not gay ive been nowinn tay and mike for all my life and they was not messing around

"Once again, Indianapolis is proving to the LGBT community that our city isn't sensitive to our concerns, lacks basic knowledge of our needs, and could absolutely care less."

I'm from the West Coast, but I went to Ball State, and I would say the above statement applies to the whole state of Indiana.

Bil, sometimes your often righteous indignation gets the better of you and you speak too fast.

"Of course, both victims were obviously not considered consequential since mug shot photos were released to the media instead of the usual family-supplied photo."

The fact that mug shots were released has nothing to do with how consequential the police consider this crime. It is standard practice, EVERYWHERE. The mug shot is the quickest way police can usually ID the victim (fingerprints lead to gallery number, gallery number leads to booking photo). The fact the booking photos were used to identify the victims is due to the fact the victims have prior criminal history. Most homicide victims do, that's just the way it is.

The police, upon request, give a photo of the victim to the local media. The police have no reason to have other photos of the victims (besides those of the crime scene), and most people would prefer they spend their time investigating the crime than looking for a gussied up photo of the victims. If anyone should be blamed, it should be the media for not requesting a better photo of the victims from the family.

Likewise, the fact that certain information is being kept from the public at large is a solid police practice. Investigations unfold and head in different directions, and by giving speculative infomation to the public off the cuff, you can severely hamstring your future investigation. If the police say a motive prematurely or give a time of death that is later determined to be false, that information can be used to impeach them during trial. Such information is rightfully on a need to know basis right now.

"When two elderly gay men were murdered earlier this year, police didn't identify the victims' sexuality and refused to discuss whether the double slaying was a hate crime. The media rewrote their posted stories - the two progressed from roommates, to a gay couple, and finally into a caregiver relationship (the correct relationship). After a suspect was arrested in California, the IMPD announced the arrest but refused to release any details about the motive."

I seem to recall the neighbors were also confused about the exact relationship between the two men, so we can't blame the police for that. I also seem to recall an announcement that a possible motive for the crime was a robbery. It is nice to have a motive, it helps a prosecutor tell a story at trial, but it is certainly not necessary to prove the crime of murder in Indiana.

I think several of your other points are, sadly, well-taken. The "alternative lifestyle" comment was poorly stated at best. Let's hope for improvement, because there is plenty of room for it. But let's not confuse standard investigative procedure with anti-gay bias.

I think one of the commenters on the Indy Star article put it best, Chuck:

...these were two innocent victims sitting around minding their own business when another person or persons wholely unrelated with no particular motive in mind shot them without realizing their intentions. Or, you could look at the two victims' criminal records (drugs, theft, forgery), their police mugshots accompanying the article and probably make some assumptions about why they were killed...

Or as another person said:

It says a lot when the crime victims' photos are mug shots.

It shows a lack of respect for the victims, plays up their criminal history and sets the tone of "These people were criminals and got what they deserved."

No one deserves to be murdered. Period.

By claiming they were both men, denying the relationship between them, using Layia's male name, using mugshots for pictures, playing up their criminal records, and in one story speculating that drugs might have been a motive, the IMPD is setting the stage for this story.

Since, as you say, "by giving speculative infomation to the public off the cuff, you can severely hamstring your future investigation," the police are already hampering their own investigation by not providing the public with the real facts of the case.

Bil, according to comments over at WISH-TV's web site, she went by the name Taysha or Taysia. The other name must have been an entertainer name. We just don't have all the fact right now.

no she used alot of diffrent names the only set name for her was tay and that was before she became a girl

Bil, obviously you want to be on a soapbox about this, so you ignored most of my points. No one said they deserved to be murdered. And if the police did not properly investigate homicides where the victims had prior history, they would hardly ever solve them (and our national average for homicides solved is above average). Look at the news everytime a murder is announced-the pictures of the victim are almost ALWAYS mugshots. Why? Victims of crimes also tend to be criminals, that's just the way it is.

"denying the relationship between them"

What was thier relationship? How do you know this? Besides the anonymous commenter below, who gave no indication he went to the police with this information. When did the police deny this relationship when faced with actual proof of its existence?

"using mugshots for pictures, playing up their criminal records"

Again, why should the police spend their time looking for a gussied up prettified photo of the victim? And how did they play up their criminal history? It is public record (as are the booking photos, which is why you always see those celebrity mugshots right away), released upon request. The media asked, they answered. The media reported. You want the police to be forthcoming with information, unless it hurts the perception of the victim? I know this hamstrings your desire to blame IMPD for everything, but let's be real here.

"in one story speculating that drugs might have been a motive, the IMPD is setting the stage for this story."

Again, where did the police actually say this was a drug deal gone bad? Or did the media posit that theory?

Maybe the police have a motive, and it's a drug deal or sex deal gone bad (common reasons for killing in Indy, and prosecuted all the time). Maybe they are keeping things under wraps to avoid any further taint and bad feelings against the victims. And if there is more information forthcoming, why can't you wait until the killer is caught?

Like I said, I agree with you on several of the points you made earlier. But if you want the police to listen to your concerns regarding the LGBT community in this town, you need to have your facts together and not confuse sensational media reporting with crappy police work.

I am the anonymous commenter. I did not know the victim, but it is easy to pull the record and see two incidents this year under Avery Elzy for "commercial sex" in Speedway. If you search for Layia Lovely you'll see that her death is being discussed on other message boards, including a posting from another local transgendered person I do know personally who says she personally knew the victim. So that's more than speculation, but not definitive proof. The police surely don't need my help to track this down. I'm content to leave them to their investigation.

Again, when you are transgendered, particularly early in your transition, and no one will hire you and you find yourself ostracized by your family and friends, it is easy to see how you might find yourself drawn into illegal activities, the sex industry, or other forms of exploitation despite your best efforts.

Marla R. Stevens Marla R. Stevens | December 30, 2008 2:54 PM

Chuck --
The reason the police should use other-than-mug-shot photos -- especially when they are as readily available as the one at the bottom of Bil's post is -- beyond the good reasons Bil has given, is that, as mug shots often are poor likenesses, capturing people at their worst, which, when so clearly contrasted with photos more reflective of how the person chose to present herself to the world, can even prove unrecognizable to members of the public upon whom the police must rely for help in solving crimes. In short, it's just good police work -- something that seems more than a bit adrift in this case thusfar.

it did not have anything to do with drugs at all

What hypocsisy!!!

Hate crimes are those committed by gays who kill their partners through their unseemly behavior.

Get a clue. By encouraging the gay lifestyle you are encouraging gays-killing-gays. You're no better than the thugs who killed these two people (and their dog.)

Dear IU,
From any angle, your comment is very difficult to understand. You might want to try to rephrase or clarify what you said. To say that the gay lifestyle causes gay murders is rather like saying that getting out of bed could be dangerous to your health. Do you seriously want to make that statement?

Are you really a grad? Because you sound more like a drop-out? And if you are a grad, IU should demand their diploma back.

IU grad, you're not even dealt into the game, let alone having a clue. You obviously only have half a brain from listening to Rush Limbaugh too often. What was your major, basketweaving? You are an obvious homo/transphobe and bigot, and the karmic wheel will deal with you at some point.

Murder is murder, no matter how the people murdered made their living or whatever their lifestyle was. I support hate crimes laws because the reason a person is murdered long has had an impact on how the perpetrator is tried and sentenced. Yes, it is largely PR as a deterrent, just as capital punishment is - but I personally support mandatory capital punishment for anyone convicted of murder under a hate crimes law. If a couple perps who kill GLBT people out of hatred, as IU Grad obviously has the hots to do, got the big shot or got to ride the lightning, it would send a message to these kind of phobic phools.

Hold the local cops feet to the fire. They will be more than happy to let this case slide past. They've done that in my town where T people murdered, are concerned. In fact, there are many who feel that the recent spate of Memphis T-murders quite possibly are being carried out by present or former Memphis cops. Do not trust the police to ever investigate a GLBT murder honestly.

Troll detected.

Sorry, most of us are too smart to put up with you.

Marla R. Stevens Marla R. Stevens | December 30, 2008 2:07 PM

What "gay lifestyle"? Please define your terminology. Exactly what, besides simply being gay, do the millions of us in the U.S., much less the many millions more worldwide, have in common in the way we live. Lifestyle describes the ephemeral, the changeable, the optional choices one makes about how one lives, such as whether one tends to entertain with backyard barbecues versus black tie soirees, is a nose-to-the-grindstone workaholic or is a lady-who-lunches, is a couch potato or a fitness fanatic or somewhere in the middle, etc. Is that really what you were trying so ham-handedly to describe?

It is my hope that one day we in the LGBT community will quit turning to politicians or the much hoped for "hate" crime legislation, ergo words on paper.

It should be obvious by now, that law enforcement only shows up after the fact and sometimes even adds to the insult of crimes perpetrated against us. Furthermore, words on paper will have little effect on stopping assaults against us just as capital punishment is no deterrent to murder in general.

These two murders now join the brutal gang rape of a woman in San Francisco, our supposed shining city on the hill, as well as the critical injury of another trans-woman in Memphis.

There is truth in the statement, "Armed Gays don't get Bashed."

We either exercise our inherent right to self-defense or settle for the parrot victory of legislation, which again will not somehow render impotent a premeditated act of violence.

Marla R. Stevens Marla R. Stevens | December 30, 2008 2:27 PM

Alli -- I don't know whether you've been in a position to need to be armed regularly or not. I have -- living in Klan country in middle Georgia and being on their hit list there due to gay rights activism, receiving death threats, being chased at high speeds down back roads with bullets whizzing past, etc., enough to necessitate extreme precautions such as being very well armed and demonstrating in public the will to kill and the capacity for doing so.

I thus have earned the cred to say with authority that your call for us all to arm ourselves is irresponsible and dangerous.

I do not oppose well-trained people doing so when necessary, mind you, but few among us are well- and constantly-trained enough to both possess the requisite skill and the necessary will to kill that one must have before ever picking up a weapon when in peril so that the complete and accurate version of your partial truism, "Armed Gays don't JUST get bashed, they get killed or maimed when their weapons are turned on them by criminals who, unlike their owners, come fully prepared to use them", does not tragically apply.

I plan on getting a permit to carry a concealed weapon. I also plan to take gun safety classes. I carry a knife with me on a regular basis.

I'm willing to take the infinitesimal chance that it'll get turned back on me. It's not a guarantee, obviously, but when used correctly guns are good for self-defense.

I'm sorry but need to remain anonymous on this posting.

This is an incredible tragedy and a very sad day, not just for the LGBT community, but for everyone.

It's sad that Avery is identified as male. But let's not be too harsh. Honestly, people often don't know the right thing to say, and legally Avery probably was male. Let's not attribute to malice what can adequately be explained by ignorance. Hopefully as the Indy LGBT community continues to gain understanding and acceptance, there will be less of this.

What further saddens me is that Avery appears to have, as is all too common, fallen into a life of crime, including ending up as a sex worker. You can find more about her on the web by searching for Layia Lovely. While I've nothing against sex workers, it seems that all too many transgendered people end up forced into that world or into other criminal acts. While I'm not going to make excuses for the crimes, it is sad that so many transgendered people end up marginalized and forced into things they'd otherwise not want to do in order to survive. While many TG's end up coming through it all in good shape at the end, that's sadly not always the case.

We don't know the motive. Whatever the case, even without a hate crime law, Indiana takes murder very seriously, and when the perpetrator is caught, I'm sure it will be no picnic for him in a long prison sentence.

Let's hope for the day when Indy's LGBT community, and America's, finds full acceptance, including the transgendered.

We don't know the motive. Whatever the case, even without a hate crime law, Indiana takes murder very seriously, and when the perpetrator is caught, I'm sure it will be no picnic for him in a long prison sentence.

Do we know that they will take this case seriously? Our community is very often marginalized - especially in Indiana. When a victim comes from a "less desirable element" of society, the actual amount of time spent working the case seriously doesn't equal the nice pretty young white victim. By the time you add in race, gender identity and prior police records, I'm guessing this one isn't going to land in the "most investigated" file. The only thing saving this case is the fact that's a double homicide in a nice middle class neighborhood.

This is why IMPD needs an LGBT liaison. Most major cities have someone dedicated to keeping the LGBT community informed of any crimes, the status of investigations, etc and works with the community to reduce crime rates via public education (be careful when you leave a bar, internet safety, etc.) Indianapolis has a liaison to the African-American community, the Latino community, and for each neighborhood in Indy. We, however, aren't important enough to gain the same level of respect.

It's an outrage.

Marla R. Stevens Marla R. Stevens | December 30, 2008 4:09 PM

Bil is absolutely right-on in questioning whether these victims will be treated with respect and their murder aggressively pursued by IMPD and the prosecutor's office, both of which have had a long and sorry history with regards to the LGBT community, including unprofessional ignorance in handling such things as so-called 'panic defenses' that have allowed at least one admitted murderer to get off with a light sentence and another to get off altogether, rank bigotry that allowed more than one serial killer to murder again and again in our midst, discrimination and other unprofessional conduct in both investigating crimes against us and in law enforcement against us (making our people rightfully distrustful of the police and thus less able to cooperate with them in solving crimes against us.)

As for a liaison being a solution, I did have one once in IPD and she was a considerable help most of the time but, at times also proved a distancing buffer between us and those with the power to effect needed changes. I prefer instead a chief of police accessible enough that those charged with our policy/community relations work can have the direct, at-the-top contact we need. However, if the chief cannot or will not provide that (with the help of his/her top circle's help), then a liaison is a necessity and one should be appointed.

As for hate crimes reporting compliance, or, more specifically, the apparent current lack thereof:
It's a matter of eternal vigilence and probably will be long after we're all long gone from the earth. The good news is that those of us involved in writing and passing both the federal and Indiana reporting statutes and regs anticipated that there would be varying levels of both compliance and advocacy and put in place alternatives to police compliance that could, themselves, be used as tools to increase that compliance.

Both the US DOJ and the Indiana Civil Rights Commission, the agencies charged with compiling the data and making it periodically available to their respective legislative oversight bodies, take independent reports of bias crimes and must, by law, include a comparison of those and the data reported by the various police agencies.

Those agencies are also charged with encouraging compliance -- particularly when there's evidence of noncompliance via substantiated independent reports not reported by police agencies despite that their suspected bias nature qualified for reporting (a low threshold standard designed to aid police agencies in spotting trends so that better policing could be employed to reduce future crime).

Justice had at one time had a toll-free line on which reports could be made and the organization had promised to compile and regularly report them to both the US DOJ and ICRC for comparison purposes. I do not know if that work is still taking place.

In addition, there was an ongoing promise from IPD to include LGBT police/community relations leadership-approved-and-directly-involved-as-trainers training in both basic officer academy training as well as in ongoing in-service training with serving line officers and administrative level personnel.

And, as officers in the field are strongly influenced by the police report forms they use and are trained and constantly updated/reinforced in their proper use, there was a guarantee that there would be a bias crimes check-off on the form with well-trained parameters in its proper use.

Further, as the presence of LGBT officers on a force has a tendency to reduce discrimination in policing and enhance professionalism in dealings with the LGBT community, there was an employment non-discrimination agreement covering not just the police but the entire Indianapolis Department of Public Safety as well as an agreement to use LGBT media to advertise open positions and training opportunities to serve as officers.

There are also the provisions designed to enhance citizen involvement in the department's work that were accomplished in the civilian complaint review board ordinance and the process leading up to it, including opportunities for ride-alongs (a perfect one-on-one two-way educational opportunity if ever there was one) and academy training for civilians, non-discrimination requirements at all levels of that process, and opportunities to serve on neighborhood-based police/community relations groups that then qualify one to run for positions on the complaint board itself.

The opportunities to effect positive change are there in Indianapolis and, given enough time, consistent effort and finesse, they can be expanded to many other places as well. I encourage all to use them.

The most effective way, beyond individual efforts of course, is to create professional anti-violence/police-community relations groups with at least one full time paid executive who can coordinate these activities and be a dependable touchstone/liaison on our side of the thin blue line.

With much help from community groups such as Justice, I served in that capacity in Indianapolis for many of our community's organizational formative years -- at a negative salary which it is just not reasonable to expect of anyone. It's time the community stepped up to the plate and supported a proper infrastructure -- particularly in this most important of roles that, literally, can mean the difference between life and death and freedom and incarceration for all too many.

Marla R. Stevens Marla R. Stevens | December 30, 2008 2:46 PM

Regarding: "But let's not be too harsh. Honestly, people often don't know the right thing to say, and legally Avery probably was male. Let's not attribute to malice what can adequately be explained by ignorance."


When ignorance is persistent, despite both a professional responsibility of, at minimum, conversive fluency and enough respect and professionalism to qualify as adequate to 'protect and serve' AND the opportunity to achieve the knowledge necessary to achieve that professionalism has been repeatedly made available -- and, in the case of IMPD, actually utilized in the past, malice can and should rightly be inferred unless proven otherwise.

IMPD's behavior in this case is clearly unprofessional and cutting them slack is thus unwarranted and self-oppressive. Please do not fall into that trap any further.

THIS IS WHY WE NEED EQUALITY, PEOPLE.

The only real effect of hate crime laws is to give some indication that society is willing to recognise that a specific group is not considered 'expendable' or as second class citizens who may be freely targeted and victimized. They won't stop a single crime, they will not change anyone's mind or make them hate less or stop being bigoted towards the group.

That is one of the reasons the right fights so hard against them, they do not want any form of legitimacy for LGBT people.

diddlygrl hits the nail on the head. Hate crime legislation, marriage and/or civil unions, repealing DADT --- all these milestones would give LGBT/SGL people a recognition, a legitimacy that the right-wingers are terrified we might actually achieve someday.

What is so dreadful is that they would rather for LGBT/SGL citizens to end up like Michael and Avery rather than give recognition to our relationships and our lives.

Damn. A new name for TDOD in 2009.

The unwillingness of the IMPD and the larger society to learn about transgender people and how they should properly be identified is a discourse, witting or unwitting, advising the citizenry that transgender lives are less important in the eyes of officialdom. The comment of "IU grad" above, proud of its ignorance and full of hatred, is a product of that same discourse.

Meghan Stabler | December 29, 2008 12:24 PM

Bil,

This is such appalling news to end the year on. I want to thank you for going the extra mile and confirming who Layia was. Some how we need to bring national attention to the hate crimes that we continue to face. Too often I see them reported in local media in a limited way, yet extensively in our own blogging community. We need to shame law enforcement into highlighting Hate Crimes, and ensure that the new administration quickly passes Hate Crimes laws. Yet that will still not be enough. We then must ensure ( via using our community mass ) that Law Enforcement and then the judicial system prosecute and convict to the fullest extent of the law, persons that commit "hate" murder.

One of the many troubling things about this incident is the way the victims are portrayed. It sounds like the media and IMPD don't know how to discuss the victim's relationship in public. It is not difficult to figure out but they make it sound so mysterious. Also, the photos used to show the victims are so bad - IMPD should be embarassed. How much time could it have taken to ask family members for a photo. Perhaps the people involved on the side of the police need to take a diversity course. As for the person or person's who did this, they will be caught and should be charged with a hate crime and prosecuted to the fullest extent.

Marla R. Stevens Marla R. Stevens | December 30, 2008 4:18 PM

Mark -- please see my reply to Bil (above), that provides some background that may help with the concerns you've raised.

"The unwillingness of the IMPD and the larger society to learn about transgender people"

Oh NO! Don't lay that at the door of society! Mainstream didn't suddenly come up with the idea that trans people and homosexuals are one and the same. It wasn't always this way you know. There was a time when mainstream actually considered us to be deserving of their support, when we were not outrightly hated. I am sorry if you never experienced that time but I did and many more of us post-op dinosaurs did. True we were not always respected right off the bat, but that comes from dogged quiet integration, not from forcing your transness in their face.

When the LGB decided to play host to the transgendered all that changed. When the transgendered came out of the internet woodwork, all that changed. When the media, spurred on by the likes of Jerry Springer started parading endless caricatures of homosexual men turned women across the living rooms of America, the support turned to indifference. When the transgendered started to organize under the LGBT umbrella and call for society to just shut up and accept that they were here and queer, the indifference turned to despise. When the transgender continue to preach that gender has no meaning in the world, that genitals do not make the woman, that the gender binary should be split. When you advocate that its ok for crossdressing men to come to work dressed up in female attire and force themselves on the female bathrooms like they have a right to be there, when you tell the women of the world that they must make way for the transgender in their spaces, and tell the men of the world to get used to it, thats when what little support we all had evaporated.

Yes we are hated. It wasn't always so. When you leave a trail of breadcrumbs that connect right back to the doors of the LGB, what is to learn? Society has learned very well that transgender/transsexual = the MILITANT wing of the Homosexual movement. Thats why we are targeted, because every time the LGBT opens their mouth, society envisages a picture of a loud mouthed, female appearing tranny man, yelling for rights and denouncing society for being homophobes and transphobes. That is the legacy the transgender activists and the LGB have brought to the doors of all transsexuals.

Their blood is on your hands!

Let's not start another HBS debate, shall we? This post is specifically about this double homicide. It doesn't need hijacked.

I've let this comment stand to allow for your general point that queers caused trans woman to be a larger target of violence.

Bil.

I am not HBS! I have said it here before.

My post is from the viewpoint of a transsexual woman with 30 years of full time and 20 years of post op experience in the trenches. I would think that you would let opposing views be heard even if you don't agree with them.

Thank you

This is your anonymous poster again. I just wanted to make one more comment.

Avery/Taysia was convicted multiple times of forgery and it appears spent some years in prison. Alas, it is not uncommon for the transgendered to end up in prison. Can you imagine what that must be like? To be TG in prison? How might that mess your life up even more.

It is confusing enough to start having feelings that you might be TG. Are you TG? Gay? Do you know? Is there a clear answer? Then when you act on them you end up in all too many cases in an even worse spot than a gay person who came out. You've got to endure the ridicule and your own uncertainties. You lose your friends and sometimes your family. Even when you don't lose your family, you might end up wishing you did. No one will hire you. Maybe you don't have the confidence to even apply for "normal" jobs. This leads all to often into a cycle of dysfunction: drugs, sex work, crime, depression, and potentially prison, which can make it even harder to get a job. And, for those who are interested in men, how many of those are interested in a legitimate relationship? Almost none. And how many women would be interested in a TG-woman just by sexual orientation alone? It's a recipe for exploitation and disappointment.

No, I'm not TG. I'm a genetic male who is still very much a man, thank you. But I've met more than a few TG's. And I think all most all of them have, at some point in their life, either ended up in the sex industry, had a drug/alcohol problem, or suffered from depression. I'm a pretty tough guy by nature normally, but when I hear the stories they've told, it's moving.

In any situation, being TG is going to be difficult. In our society, it's particularly bad. I know it isn't easy for the average joe to know what to do or how to treat someone who may be TG. But I hope everyone who comes into contact with someone who is TG will do their best to show simply human understanding and dignity. Whatever clumsy actions people might have, good intentions always shine through.

Let's hope for a day when the transgendered gain full acceptance in America.

Anon,
Being transgender can, indeed, be a tough life. But, our community is filled with many, many success stories. I know hundreds who are successful, many are contributors and commenters on this blog. There are four besides myself on this comment string alone. Sadly, the ones who we hear about are the ones Bil wrote about here. For myself, I live about as close to a "normal" life I can, being a lesbian as well as trans. I hope you get to meet many more of us.

Leigh,

There is so much in your comment that is unacceptable to me and demonstrates a shortsightedness on your part. Experience and Age does not always equal expertise. For the moment I will go down the road you have tried to take up down. Even if transgender folks are murdered more frequently because of their association with LGB people does focusing on the togetherness as the problem make sense? Does that then make it okay for LGB folks to die. It just seems like you are trying to skirt the realities of certain parts of the social problems facing non-gender normative folks - in that group I am including many gays and lesbians who aren't necessarily transgender.

Gay and Lesbian folks still struggle with inclusion. In some amazing moments they get it right and it matters - a great example is Bil and Jerame during the efforts to pass an city ordinance in Indianapolis. An example of getting it wrong is Indiana Equality refusing to poll about transgender questions in a way that is effective or really gets to the questions that need to be asked. All of that said, we are better off together than we are alone. I hope that being united as LGBT folks won't stop us from reaching out and forming strategic alliances with groups who have social issues they are encountering that overlap with ours. It seems like such a natural connection for me between transgender folks and immigrants. Notions of documentations and proving you belong seem to be major unifying forces.

I guess I wish that we were angry that Indiana's gay movement hasn't spent as much time and effort on community education and pushing hate crimes legislation as it has on paying personnel and beating back the marriage amendment - a task that had to be done, but still.

Finally, even if you are speaking some sort of truth you are erasing LGBQ transgender people while doing. I happen to have a liking to LGBQ transpeople and just see no sense in erasing them.

[link removed]

It doesn't look like that she had the sex change. This photo was as of 10/2008.

EDITORS' NOTE: This link has been removed. It's disrespectful and just plain tacky to show a naked picture of a woman who's just been killed. Please keep our comment policy in mind:

The editorial team will delete a comment that is off-topic, abusive, exceptionally incoherent, includes a slur or is soliciting and/or advertising. Repeated violations of the policy will result in revocation of your user account. Please keep in mind that this is our online home; ill-mannered house guests will be shown the door.

"Deceived," I find your comment highly offensive.

First, what's between a person's legs is none of your (or our) business. Many otherwise well-meaning people seem to think they have an inalienable right to be informed of a transperson's genital status, and to share that information with others.

If you're wanting to hook up with her, then (and only then) you could respectfully inquire. But since she's dead, that option is no longer available. For the sole point of your comment to be "look, she's got a dick" is crude and vulgar.

Second, using Bilerico to link to a nude picture of a recent murder victim is also offensive. Sure, she may have done sex work, and may have given permission for her photo to be used online. You have the right to feel turned on, disgusted, or anything in between. But please show some respect for the deceased.

If I've misread your intent, then I apologize. But the only thing you had to contribute was "look, I found nude pix of a dead tranny," and that makes me wonder which tabloid you work for.

Marla R. Stevens Marla R. Stevens | December 30, 2008 4:40 PM

I can only assume that you share the view of another commenter here that the disrespectful identification of Ms. Lovely as male was somehow acceptable because her transgender status was that of one arbitrarily decided by someone else to be disqualifying. Both the police and the news media in Indianapolis have had plenty of opportunity to learn otherwise and have been provided in the past with appropriate, accurate, and respectful alternatives to that which they're currently misusing.

Once again, another media outlet abysmally fails at respecting the life of a transwoman.

From the AP Stylebook:

transgender-Use the pronoun preferred by the individuals who have acquired the physical characteristics of the opposite sex or present themselves in a way that does not correspond with their sex at birth.

If that preference is not expressed, use the pronoun consistent with the way the individuals live publicly.

My word.. I just googled Layia Lovely, and there is some pretty nasty pornography he performed in. I find it sad that young men turned away from God's love and try to deny their gender and become involved in drugs and pornography. Jesus could have saved this young man from utter degradation, and loves him still. I wonder how many other LGBT people are headed for the same bad end because they deny God's love?

Marla R. Stevens Marla R. Stevens | December 30, 2008 5:03 PM

Wingnut alert!

"It doesn't look like that she had the sex change"

Yes such a wonderful example of a homosexual transgender 'medical' issue just crying out to be resolved.

Is that what it means to be "Out & Proud" !

You may not be "HBS," but you run a blog promoting the theory that regularly criticizes trans people from the HBS POV. You've left 2 comments now that specifically denigrated the victim just as the HBS women do.

Again, I'm saying, this is not an HBS matter. If you can't keep your comments on topic, I won't publish any more of them. This is a serious story monitored by media and Hoosiers alike. Simply put, I don't need the HBS gang coming in and acting like asses and getting folks all riled up.

Stay on topic or leave. It's just that simple.

Brynn Craffey Brynn Craffey | December 30, 2008 4:17 PM

EDITORS' NOTE: This comment has been removed for violation of Terms of Service. From the comment policy beneath each post:

While arguing about an opinion or idea is encouraged, personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please be respectful of others.

EDITORS' NOTE: This comment has been removed for Terms of Service violation. From the comment policy below each post:

The editorial team will delete a comment that is off-topic, abusive, exceptionally incoherent, includes a slur or is soliciting and/or advertising. Repeated violations of the policy will result in revocation of your user account. Please keep in mind that this is our online home; ill-mannered house guests will be shown the door.

Melanie Davis | December 31, 2008 10:17 AM

The difference is, our opposing commentary doesn't come with 2000 years of murder and oppression behind it.

Though I do not agree with you, I will defend to the point of great discomfort your right to spew whatever you will short of "fighting words." For your own credibility, I would suggest you not come off so sanctimoniously in the future.

Just a suggestion, not that you need to present yourself as someone with a serious opposing viewpoint. Heaven forbid your posts move someone to change their minds, instead they are read as a huge "nya-nya-nya-nya-nya-nya, I'm going to the Happy Place, you're going to suffer for your depravity."

God bless, and please try to read on past all the smiting of enemies and running of blood from the OT in your Bible, it gets a lot better.

Wow. Wasn't that a CNN war correspondent coming out of Bilerico Towers with a camera crew?

If the double slaying is a hate crime, nothing will be done about it.

Murder is still a crime, hate crime or not.

In a video released by the local NBC affiliate, Lt. Kevin Kelley can be seen stating "the two individuals did live an alternative lifestyle" at a press conference yesterday. I attempted to contact Lt. Kelley three different times today to ask for clarification of his "alternative lifestyle" comment, without response from anyone at IMPD.

One individual is said to have worked in the sex industry. I would view that as "alternative."

Of course, both victims were obviously not considered consequential since mug shot photos were released to the media instead of the usual family-supplied photo.

Mug shot photos are not just "released." One has to request such a photo. IMPD did not demand the mug shot photos be used by the media. The media has an easy source for photos, that being mug shots. Mug shots are not protected and are available by open door public record laws.

Indianapolis LGBT residents live under fear of constant attack. We have no protections.

Please clarify. If someone attacks you, that is battery. The suspect can be arrested for battery. In this case, the crime is murder. Also, Indiana is a free state. We allow residents to arm themselves to assist in their defense of their person, another person, and their dwelling. No permit is needed to keep a firearm in your home.

Was it a hate crime? Was it robbery? No one knows - especially in the LGBT community. Instead, we live with the uncomfortable fear for our safety.

What does it matter? People are dead. Does it make it better if they are dead because it was a robbery? Say it is a robbery over money. Does that mean LGBT can breath easier, but folks with lots of money should be living in fear? Say it was a hate crime, I guess folks with money can breath easy, but LGBT people will be living in fear?