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A transgender woman was found shot dead inside a car on a rural South Carolina road Easter morning, and authorities do not know if gender identification was the reason for the brutal killing.

The victim, identified as Wendell Price Jr., was found slumped over the steering wheel of the car in rural Chesterfield County on Sunday morning, according to the Associated Press. Price, who owned the car, had been shot multiple times in the neck and shoulder.

“Whoever it was, was angry," Sheriff Jay Brooks said of the killer, according to FOX 46. "You could tell by the number of shots."

Investigators say Price, 29, lived in a mobile home outside Pageland and was known to family and friends as "Sasha Wall," according to WSOC-TV.

Brooks told media outlets that investigators are still working the case and believe Price knew the killer.

"He was dressed (in women's clothing) and had makeup on and that kind of stuff," Brooks told WCNC. "But whether that has anything to do with this case or not, we have no idea."

Investigators have no evidence Price's killing was a hate crime and believe it was more likely domestic violence-related, WSOC reports.

The Anson County Sheriff's Office and State Law Enforcement Division are assisting in the investigation, according to WBTV.

The Human Rights Campaign, a civil rights organization that advocates for LGBTQ people, documented the deaths of at least 28 transgender people who were fatally shot or killed by other violent means in the U.S. in 2017, up from 23 in 2016.

Saturday was Transgender Day Of Visibility. It happens every year. It was trans day of visibility 365 days ago... so can you now see me?

I am trans. I am proud. I am visible. I exist. You may deny it, many do. Yet I wake up in the morning and my substantial hands make breakfast. My feet hit the pedals and I drive a car. I’m heard when I speak to people. I exist. I’m seen, in some ways. And yes, I don’t doubt that on Saturday plenty of cis people turned to their friends and proclaim “why do they need a day of visibility? We have equal marriage, what else do they want?”

I’ll tell you what. I want to be able to choose my actual gender on a form, not the next closest thing. I want trans people to have access to the support and treatment that they need, without years of waiting. I want all genders to be visible in all areas of life. 
 
It doesn’t seem much to ask, really it is just a bit of humanity. To that every human is equal in their value, not worth more or less based on their gender identity or sexuality or race or class status or age. 
 
Trans is not a “look” or a “phase”. Trans people may look like you expect them too, they may not. Trans is not something that will go away if you ignore it. Trans doesn’t always look the same - some come out as kids, others when they’re 60. Trans people might be straight, or gay, or bisexual, or asexual or pansexual. 

In the last year, since trans day of visibility 2017, have I become more visible? No, I don’t think so. I am still married as a “wife” not a spouse or partner. My passport has the wrong gender with no option to correct it. My driving licence is the same. I still have to face being told my gender isn’t real, or I have to choose one way or the other. 

I am trans. I am non binary. I am they/them. I am a partner. I am a person. I am real. Can you see me now? 

 

A study conducted at the University of Texas at Austin found that when transgender youths are allowed to use their chosen name in places such as work, school and at home, their risk of depression and suicide drops.           

One of the largest studies of transgender youths to date, findings were publishing the Journal of Adolescent Health this week in advance of Saturday’s annual Transgender Day of Visibility.

International Transgender Day of Visibility is marked every year on March 31. According to the Humans Right Campaign, it is "a time to celebrate transgender people around the globe and the courage it takes to live openly and authentically, while also raising awareness around the discrimination trans people still face."

“Many kids who are transgender have chosen a name that is different than the one that they were given at birth,” said author Stephen T. Russell, professor and chair of human development and family science. “We showed that the more contexts or settings where they were able to use their preferred name, the stronger their mental health was.”

Researchers interviewed transgender youths ages 15 to 21 and asked whether young people could use their chosen name at school, home, work and with friends. Compared with peers who could not use their chosen name in any context, young people who could use their name in all four areas experienced 71 percent fewer symptoms of severe depression, a 34 percent decrease in reported thoughts of suicide and a 65 percent decrease in suicidal attempts.

Earlier research by Russell found that transgender youths report having suicidal thoughts at nearly twice the rate of their peers, with about 1 out of 3 transgender youths reporting considering suicide.

In the new study, having even one context in which a chosen name could be used was associated with a 29 percent decrease in suicidal thoughts.

Because many names are common to one gender, allowing transgender youths to use a chosen name is one simple step that institutions such as schools, hospitals, financial institutions, workplaces and community organizations can use to help young people affirm their gender identity, Russell said.

A coalition of LGBTQ groups will ask the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington to permanently block the Trump administration’s plans to bar most transgender individuals from serving in the U.S. military.

Last week, the White House and Pentagon announced that transgender individuals who have been diagnosed with gender dysphoria would be barred from serving.

Under the revised policy, which was approved by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, some transgender people not diagnosed with gender dysphoria may serve, so long as they have been “stable for 36 consecutive months in their biological sex prior to accession” and do not require extensive medical or hormonal treatments or special accommodations. There is also an exemption for those active-duty transgender individuals who are already serving but have not yet undergone gender confirmation surgery.

Last year, Trump announced his intention to issue a sweeping ban that would prevent all transgender individuals, regardless of ability or circumstance, from serving in the Armed Forces. Several courts issued temporary injunctions — which remain in effect — that prevent the Pentagon from trying to implement its preferred policy before the lawsuits are resolved in court.

According to reporting from Slate magazine, the White House relied on a panel of so-called “experts” who were working behind the scenes to provide justification for the ban, relying on a combination of “anti-trans propaganda with baseless, discredited concerns about the alleged danger of open transgender service,” including false claims about military readiness, privacy, and cost.

Members of that secret panel included Vice President Mike Pence, Ryan T. Anderson, a known advocate for religious exemptions from nondiscrimination laws and opponent of transgender rights, and Tony Perkins, the head of the anti-LGBTQ Family Research Council.

Given the backgrounds and motivations of those who worked to craft the new policy, as well as the sweeping generalizations that the new policy continues to make about transgender individuals, several LGBTQ advocates say that the revised policy is still discriminatory and should be declared unconstitutional.

As such, Lambda Legal, OutServe-SLDN, and the State of Washington will be asking the court — on behalf of several transgender soldiers, prospective recruits, and three LGBTQ organizations: the Human Rights Campaign, Gender Justice League, and the American Military Partner Association — to issue a permanent injunction blocking the ban from taking effect.

The Palm Center, an organization that advocates for allowing LGBTQ people to serve openly in the military, which previously accused the Pentagon of distorting science “in service to the ideological goals of the Trump-Pence base,” released a statement from 26 retired General and Flag officers in the military, who called the revised policy a “troubling move backward.”

“Under the newly announced policy, most transgender individuals either cannot serve or must serve under a false presumption of unsuitability, despite having already demonstrated that they can and do serve with distinction,” the officers said in the statement. “They will now serve without the medical care every service member earns, and with the constant fear of being discharged simply for who they are.

“We should not return to the days of forcing men and women to hide in the shadows and serve their country without institutional support,” the statement continues. “This deprives the military of trained and skilled service members, which harms readiness and morale. There is simply no reason to single out brave transgender Americans who can meet military standards and deny them the ability to serve.”

History shows Kyle Duncan can't be trusted to respect or provide a fair hearing to transgender people.

 

Maine is my home. Maine is where I grew up. Maine is where I legally won the right to be my authentic self. For that, I am proud of our state. But now Maine’s U.S. senators have an important decision to make about a threat that could change the lives of families with transgender kids like me: judicial nominee Kyle Duncan.

I am a transgender woman, and currently a student at the University of Maine. When I was 10 years old, my school in Orono forced me to use a separate restroom from other students because of my gender identity. That isolation humiliated me on a daily basis: I was harassed and picked on in the community by both students and adults alike, and I couldn’t help but wonder what was so wrong with me that I couldn’t use the same bathroom as my friends. My parents and I brought a discrimination suit against the school district in hopes that the Maine Supreme Judicial Court would hear my story, so that no one else would have to suffer as I did.

The justices who heard my case were fair and impartial. They reviewed the school’s actions and our state’s laws, and the Supreme Judicial Court ruled that my school had acted illegally by not allowing me to use the same restrooms as my peers – restrooms that matched who I am. That court decision did not just change my life and the lives of other transgender children in Maine, it also became helpful guidance for schools across the country.

There’s no way I would’ve had a fair hearing if Kyle Duncan were my judge.

Mr. Duncan, who has been nominated for a seat on a powerful federal appeals court, has never treated transgender people fairly or with respect. In fact, he has promoted cruel and demeaning statements about transgender people and repeatedly worked to undermine basic human rights for people like me. For example, Mr. Duncan has defended North Carolina’s notorious House Bill 2, which excluded transgender people from public restrooms that matched their gender identities. He is currently defending Virginia’s Gloucester County School Board and its policy that singles out students like me. In these and other cases, Mr. Duncan has sought to make it legal to discriminate against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in all aspects of our lives.

The problem with Mr. Duncan’s nomination goes well beyond who his clients were, or even the fact that he has sought out opportunities to make these arguments again and again. Duncan didn’t just defend HB 2 – he resorted to filing misleading declarations based on junk science. He described being transgender as a “delusion,” even though this opinion has been rejected by every major medical and mental health association in the nation.

Not only are they factually incorrect, but Duncan’s claims also are demeaning and damaging to hundreds of thousands of young people like me and our families. This points to the kind of deep-seated bias we cannot allow in our judges. Even if I found myself back in court one day for a case that had nothing to do with being transgender, I could not trust Kyle Duncan to give me a fair hearing after the way he has talked about people like me.

Led by Secretary Betsy DeVos, our U.S. Department of Education has turned its back on transgender students like me – declaring last month that it won’t investigate or take action on complaints by students who are banned from restrooms that match their gender identity, and sending the dangerous message that discrimination against transgender students is acceptable.

Now more than ever, we need judges who are unbiased and unprejudiced and able to give everyone a fair hearing. Mr. Duncan will soon be up for a vote before the full U.S. Senate. I ask that Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King oppose his nomination for a lifetime federal judgeship. His nomination appears much like that of Jeff Mateer, which was withdrawn late last year after senators learned he had called young transgender people like me part of “Satan’s plan.” If you ask me, being called a “delusion” is no better.

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