A transgender teen in Missouri was brutally murdered earlier this month, her body mutilated, her eyes gouged out, and her remains burned at a home in the Ozarks.
The 17-year old, Ally Lee Steinfeld, was stabbed to death by Andrew Vrba, 18, who allegedly received assistance from at least two other culprits – Briana Calderas and Isis Schauer – to burn the body.
Vrba has admitted to the murder, going as far as to tell police that he originally intended to poison the victim, but when that plan failed he brandished a knife instead.
Despite these horrifying trends, bigoted demagogues play on the public’s fear of transgender individuals for cynical, political ends. Donald Trump – who, for a spell, some considered a potential conservative voice for the LGBTQ community – is terribly guilty of this.
His totally nonsensical transgender ban in the military shocked generals and even moderate conservatives. Considering that leading voices in the Pentagon have indicated there is no threat to unit cohesion posed by transgender soldiers, the ban is cheap and pointless, designed only to shore up support among his base as his polling numbers as a whole continue to decline.
By continuing to spread the notion that transgender people are “other,” or that their healthcare represents an onerous burden on US taxpayers, Trump is spurring transphobic violence.
Astonishingly, authorities in Missouri are not treating Steinfeld’s murder as a hate crime. As transgender people face increasing violence, governments – following Trump’s lead – perpetuate their marginalization through official neglect.
Make no mistake about it. Trump has blood on his hands.