JoJo Striker's body was found in an empty garage in Toledo, OH on February 8th. The 23-year-old transgender woman's murder has not been reported until now, however, because she was misgendered by the police, local media, and her family.
We don’t know the details of this murder yet, but we do know what usually happens in these cases. A trans woman of color, almost always a Black trans woman is murdered. She is usually poor, often times a sex worker, and almost always is someone who sleeps with men. She’s usually murdered by a man she slept with or by a man who wanted to sleep with her. Absolutely none of these things are wrong for the trans woman to do or be. However, the patriarchy and American society have painted them as crimes worthy of death. Intimate partner violence is a huge issue for all women, and when you’re a trans woman of color, it’s such a big issue that most murders of people like you will be directly caused by it. This is garbage. People need to stop.
One of the things that makes these murders hurt so much more is the way trans women are so often misgendered in death. As trans women we try to control our own lives and the way other people see us, as is everyone’s right. Really, that’s so little to ask, that people call us the right name and use the right pronouns. But it’s hard. People who we meet while we’re alive struggle to understand why they should give us this tiny little ounce of respect. Or they just don’t even try to understand. But we fight, and sometimes we’re able to get people to call us by these names, which are our real names. Then someone comes and murders a Trans Woman of Color, usually a Black trans woman, and both the police and media and her family misgender her and use the wrong name. All that fighting was for nothing in the end. This is something that many of us fear.
The police told us to leave it alone but that will never happen because I will always search for my son's killer.
This is a hate crime and it needs to stop.
We are saddened to hear of the murder of JoJo Striker," Toledo wrote. "As a way to honor her life, this is a direct invitation to all media sources in the Toledo area to a workshop on how to appropriately report on the lives of the LGBT community, particularly our transgender siblings.
We recognize this could be any of us. This is the struggle with a lot of transgender women. They're looking for a place for acceptance and looking for peace of mind.
The police claim her "criminal past" may have played a role in her death.
To use that in order to dehumanize her and her passing was unacceptable to me.
We are deeply saddened by the death of JoJo Striker, and we send our thoughts and condolences to those impacted by her death. We are already seeing signs that the new administration will be stepping back protections for transgender people. In a moment when we are seeing the highest number of reports of homicides of transgender and gender non-conforming people, we need policies that protect the rights and safety of transgender people — not rollbacks.
--Emily Waters, New York Anti-Violence Project
JoJo is the third transgender woman of color who has been reported as murdered this year. She is the 7th transgender woman reported as murdered in Ohio since 2013. Ohio's hate crime law does not cover crimes motivated by gender identity or sexual orientation.