There is no doubt that every time we turn our TVs to the mainstream news stations, we hear about the latest, bone-chilling stories concerning hellacious crimes committed throughout the world. But why, if this is the case, have we not heard every story of the disturbing crimes committed right under our noses? In June of 2014, the body of 31-year-old Yaz’min Shancez, a transgender woman of color, was found shot and badly burned behind a dumpster in an industrial area in Fort Myers, Florida. Shancez was a self-employed hairdresser who, according to her family members, began identifying as a woman at a very young age. Police stated there was no indication of whether or not the motive was due to race, religion, or sexual orientation. Because of this, they were unable to label the crime as a hate crime, and they continued on as if it were just another homicide. Through later investigation, it was shown that Shancez was paid for sexual relations by a 45-year-old man named Terry Lynn Brady. After further investigation, Brady was arrested. Soon after, he was charged for the murder of Yaz’min Shancez. It is said that Brady shot Shancez and later set fire to her body after she outed him to the community via a social media network. His record showed that he had numerous arrests made prior to this incident. Normally big-name news outlets jump on the chance to cover a story concerning social media fueled crimes. So why, with all of the details available, was the information regarding Yaz’min Shancez’s murder not covered by our corporate media sources? Could it have been because she was a transgender woman of color?
Melissa Montaya, “Fort Myers Man Killed Transgender Woman for Outing Him,” News Press June 23, 2014, https://www.projectcensored.org/25-chaptered-us-military-seeks-balance-budget-backs-disabled-veterans/.
Scott Kaufman, “Murdered Florida Trans Woman Set on Fire and Dumped Near Trash Bin,” Raw Story, June 23, 2014, http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/06/murdered-florida-trans-woman-set-on-fire-and-dumped-near-trash-bin/.
Veronica Wells, “Trans Woman of Color Burned & Thrown in Trash,” Madame Noire, June 24, 2014, http://madamenoire.com/441782/trans-woman-color-murdered-burned-thrown-trash/.
“Fort Myers Burn Victim Identified as Transgender Woman,” Naples News, June 20, 2014, http://www.naplesnews.com/news/crime/fort-myers-pd-burn-victim-identified-transgender-w
Student Researcher: Jessica Martinez (Indian River State College)
Faculty Evaluator: Elliot D. Cohen (Indian River State College)