India Clarke, 25, was found dead in a Tampa park on Tuesday after suffering blunt force trauma to her upper body, according to police. They are investigating the killing as a murder.
India is at least the ninth confirmed transgender woman of color lost to homicide this year in the United States. She is the second confirmed transgender woman of color murdered this year in Florida.
In the wake of her death, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office and some press outlets have repeatedly misidentified India by her former name and misgendered her as a man, even after being corrected by members of the public and media.
In an exchange with Buzzfeed, police said they “don’t have any indication” that Clarke’s gender identity was a factor in her murder. Asked why not, a police spokesman said:
Because of his prior prostitution and drug activity, we feel this may be more related. There were other circumstance around the crime scene that I am not at liberty to discuss that leads us to believe this is more related to drugs or prostitution. There is absolutely nothing to indicate any other motive at this time.
Due to the pervasive discrimination that they face in their everyday lives, transgender women, and especially transgender women of color, suffer from disproportionately high rates of unemployment, social isolation, mental illness, drug abuse, sexual abuse, and physical violence.
Much of the discrimination stems from the refusal of many to honor transgender and gender nonconforming identities. In light of these facts, it is unconscionable to SAVE that investigators would refuse to consider India's identity in life as a potential factor in her murder. Furthermore, the persistence in misgendering India despite the reality is inexcusable.
The murder of transgender Americans needs to stop. The refusal to acknowledge and respect their identities needs to end -- and the only way it will happen is by engaging our neighbors one-on-one to change hearts and minds in favor of equality and acceptance.
This Saturday, SAVE continues its effort to reduce transgender prejudice in South Florida with a door-to-door community engagement canvass at Barry University.
Will you join us? The only way to end the violence against transgender Americans is to get involved NOW. Click here to sign up. >>
Transgender Prejudice Reduction Canvass
THIS SATURDAY, July 25, 9AM-3PM
Barry University, Thompson Hall, Room #230
11300 NE 2nd Ave
India's murder is the latest in the string of heartbreaking tragedies for the transgender community in Florida and nationwide.
NOW is the time to take action to END the violence, and we need people like you to help spread the message. Thank you for your support. SAVE sends our deepest condolences to the friends and family of India Clarke.
On the evening of Thursday, August 20, SAVE will honor four of South Florida's brightest young professionals working towards a more equal future for South Florida's LGBT community.
The Young Guardians' Luminary Awards, to be held this year at the Bacardí headquarters building in Coral Gables, were created to recognize the important work of young activists, as well as to provide an opportunity for the next generation of LGBT trailblazers to meet those who came before them.
It’s been such an amazing year for equality, with huge victories for transgender rights and the freedom to marry. None of these advances would have been possible without young leaders like our 2015 Luminaries fighting the good fight at the front lines of the battle for equality.
We're proud to announce that SAVE's 2015 Luminaries of Equality are:
A.J. Blechner, for his tireless dedication and long-term commitment to SAVE’s transgender prejudice reduction initiative as a volunteer canvass leader and advocate for transgender justice.
Father Grey Maggiano, for his unwavering commitment to LGBTQ equality as a value of the faithful in his role as Associate Rector at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in downtown Miami. In his short time at the Cathedral, Father Grey has worked with the Cathedral leadership and the Bishop’s Office to expand efforts around equality inside and outside the church walls.
Jessica Fernandez, for her innovative efforts to grow support for LGBTQ equality in South Florida by engaging constituencies traditionally overlooked by the movement in her position as President of the Miami-Dade Young Republicans and co-owner of the Miami public affairs consultancy AI Advisory.
Nadege Green, for her highly accessible and carefully-sourced coverage of developments in the local LGBTQ equality movement, as well as her reporting on the plight of queer Americans in general, as an award-winning journalist and producer for the Miami Herald and WLRN.
It would be our pleasure if you would join SAVE on August 20 as we honor these trailblazers lighting the way to equality for LGBTQ South Floridians.
You don't want to miss this elegant event! With an exclusive penthouse event space overlooking downtown Coral Gables AND open bar all night long provided by Bacardí, it's sure to be our best ceremony yet!
Nothing we've achieved in recent months has been possible without supporters like you. We hope you will join the SAVE family on August 20th as we celebrate the young professional LGBTQ equality activists working at the forefront of the movement to make the world a better place for everyone.
Buy your 2015 Luminary Awards tickets today. >>
Thanks for your support!
On June 26, we made history.
This past Friday evening, we gathered at SAVE HQ to celebrate the Supreme Court's momentous ruling making the freedom to marry the law of the land. The sight of all of our beautiful LGBTQ and allied friends, family, and community leaders gathered together was truly one to behold.
Please take a moment to savor this win -- because the fight for equality is just getting started.
Unfortunately, for many Floridians, celebrating this ruling means taking a risk: LGBTQ people can still be fired in many parts of Florida just because of who they are. Despite the ruling on the freedom to marry, there are still no explicit federal or statewide laws that protect LGBTQ Floridians from discrimination.
Being fired for marrying the person you love -- can you imagine?
At SAVE, #TeamEquality is gearing up for the next phase in the fight for equality -- protecting our newly-won rights from those who would wish to take them away.
This includes securing passage of the Florida Competitive Workforce Act (which would protect LGBTQ Floridians from employment discrimination) and defeating several mean-spirited proposals to criminalize the transgender community.
Click here to read SAVE's #TeamEquality Game Plan to learn more about the work that remains to secure comprehensive non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ Floridians.
From securing workplace nondiscrimination protections for all Floridians to defending the human rights of the transgender community -- the way forward is clear.
I hope you will join #TeamEquality as we redouble our efforts towards achieving full equality for LGBTQ Floridians.
Thank you for your support!
Want to help put #TeamEquality's plan into action? We need funds to do it!
It's VICTORY at long last:
the Supreme Court has ruled that marriage equality is now the LAW OF THE LAND!
Please join the LGBTQ leaders and organizations from across our South Florida community TONIGHT at SAVE HQ as we celebrate this momentous ruling in favor of LOVE and EQUALITY for ALL AMERICANS!
Click here to RSVP. >>
Myself and other LGBTQ leaders from South Florida will deliver remarks on what the future holds for our movement. Join the conversation by attending our Day of Decision gathering tonight!
The Atrium at 4500 Biscayne (SAVE HQ)
4500 Biscayne Boulevard, Miami, FL 33137
Thank you for your everything you do -- it's only with supporters like you that we've been able to achieve this amazing victory for all Americans.
I hope to see you tonight.
Executive Director, SAVE
Yesterday, Florida Governor Rick Scott released an extensive list of unilateral cuts made possible by his use of line-item veto power. The Governor’s cuts target millions of dollars for programs that tackle critical issues for South Florida communities.
Governor Scott’s cuts focus a particular level of animus on some of the most vulnerable Floridians -- our state’s homeless population. It's clear that more resources than ever are needed to deal with the issue of homelessness, but I'm sad to report that Scott’s cuts eliminate hundreds of thousands of dollars in funding for homelessness programs in Miami-Dade County alone.
Yesterday, with a stroke of his veto pen, Governor Scott eliminated $100,000 in funding for the critical LGBTQ youth homelessness program administered in South Florida by Citrus Health.
Scott’s withdrawal of the funding, which was first added to the state budget in 2013 after the efforts of State Representative and SAVE ally David Richardson, will devastate South Florida’s capacity to provide desperately needed help to its homeless youth population, of which as much as 40% or more is believed to identify as LGBTQ.
Experience tells us -- and the statistics show -- that among homeless kids, so many don’t have a home because they’ve been kicked out for being LGBTQ. The same statistics also show that once these kids don’t have a roof over their heads, their risk of mental health problems, sexual violence, drug abuse, unsafe sexual behavior and suicide is many times higher than their non-LGBTQ peers.
I can only shake my head at the Governor’s unilateral decision to withdraw funding for such a vulnerable group of Floridians like homeless LGBTQ youth.
For his part, State Representative Richardson is disappointed in the Governor’s action. He rightly points out that the cut's damage is magnified not only by the fact that the program has come to be relied on by homeless LGBTQ youth over the past two years, but also by the fact that the program’s funding commitment from the state helped unlock matching funds offered by local entities.
“This was a great project because it multiplied its own impact by matching the state funding I helped to secure with available funding from local sources," Richardson told SAVE, in response to the news of the cut.
“With SAVE’s help, I was able to review bids from three different organizations to take on the task of managing the housing portion of the initiative," said Richardson, "and we were proud to select Citrus Health to support this project. It was the type of accountable, efficient, results-based program that we should be funding more of at all levels of government, and I promise to fight during the upcoming legislative session to restore funding for this critical service."
We've got Rep. Richardson's back! Do you? Help us continue to support him as he works to restore funding for homeless LGBTQ youth by making a donation here. >>
Only with help from supporters like you can we protect critical programs like this one that help protect some of the most vulnerable members of our community. Thank you for your support.
Aurelio Hurtado de Mendoza
Deputy Director, SAVE
We're so happy to report that Florida Governor Rick Scott has signed the bill that includes a provision spearheaded by State Representative and SAVE ally David Richardson to strike discriminatory gay and lesbian adoption language from Florida's laws.
From a press release from the Representative's office:
REPRESENTATIVE DAVID RICHARDSON APPLAUDS FINAL END OF FLORIDA’s GAY-ADOPTION BAN
Representative David Richardson, D-Miami Beach, celebrates the full and final end of Florida’s ban on gay adoptions and commends Gov. Rick Scott for signing the House’s adoption legislation into law.
In April, Richardson filed an amendment to HB 7013, a bill to encourage adoption, that ultimately struck language from Florida law that prohibited gay Floridians from adopting children. The change to statute affirms an earlier court ruling and assures the policy will be followed statewide.
“This is a momentous day and an important advance for civil rights. It’s also great news for children who will be adopted into loving homes,” Richardson said. “I’m glad the governor did the right thing. An important part of this progress for social justice goes beyond the benefits to children. The largest, most successful and forward-thinking businesses in the nation want to recruit the best employees from the broadest population. They hesitate to locate in a state that discriminates against potential employees and makes them unwelcome. This is a big deal and a great day for Florida."
The legislation aims to increase adoption in the state, including incentive payments to adoption agencies and subsidies to state employees who adopt. Representative Richardson’s amendment sought to make sure the legislation is as effective as it can be.
Gov. Scott noted in a transmittal letter that the stricken language and the court’s earlier ruling mean state officials must assess potential adoptive parents according to the best interests of the child without regard to the sexual orientation of the parents.
“The best interest of children should always be foremost. It’s certainly in the best interest of the state to end discrimination and make sure the best adoptive parents are candidates,” Richardson said. “I am so proud of the work all of us in the Legislature were able to achieve together.”
Richardson was the first-elected openly gay member of the Florida Legislature when he was elected in August 2012.
“This is very personal for me. I recall the anti-gay campaigns of Anita Bryant that led to this discriminatory law. It’s a victory to be involved in repealing a law that caused so much heartache to me and so many others,” Richardson said.
SAVE congratulates the bipartisan coalition in the Florida House and Senate that worked so hard to pass this important legislation. We also commend Governor Scott for doing the right thing by signing this bill.
13 = the number of U.S. states where you still can't marry the person you love.
When we began the journey to freedom back in March of last year by filing suit against the State of Florida, we never believed we could achieve what we did in just ten short months.
But it happened: together with eight couples, one widow, the ACLU of Florida, and supporters like you, we brought the freedom to marry to Florida this January.
Gays and lesbians have had the freedom to marry for only a few short months here in Florida, but it feels like our court victory was ages ago. Yet sadly, a lack of freedom is the reality for millions of Americans living in the 13 states that still won't allow them the freedom to marry the person they love.
Marriage is a right. The Constitution guarantees us as Americans the right to marry who we love, regardless of who we love -- and we should all have the opportunity to do so, no matter who we are.
Today, our allies will argue before the U.S. Supreme Court that every American deserves the freedom to marry.
SAVE is honored to have been invited by Freedom to Marry to join fellow marriage plaintiffs from Florida and across the country this week in Washington, DC. We were proud to raise our hands at the Ready for Marriage reception last night when Freedom to Marry President Evan Wolfson asked for plaintiffs to stand up:
It's only because of support from people like you that we've been able to come this far in the fight for the freedom to marry in all fifty states. I can't thank you enough for everything you've done to help SAVE fight for South Florida's LGBTQ community over the years.
With your continued support, I'm confident that come this June, the Supreme Court will hand down a ruling granting every single American, from sea to shining sea, the freedom to marry. And I'll be proud to stand with you as we celebrate that victory, and going forward, defend our hard-fought wins.
Thank you again for all that you do.
God bless America,
Tony Lima, Executive Director
From State Representative David Richardson:
In a historic vote today, the Florida Senate approved an adoption bill I originally amended in the Florida House of Representatives to repeal the discriminatory gay adoption ban that was added to law thirty-eight years ago.
While the courts ruled this provision unconstitutional a few years ago, I have been told there was still some discrimination on this issue. The bill now goes to Governor Scott's desk for review, and I hope he will sign it quickly.
I want to thank the bipartisan coalition in the Florida House and Senate that voted to pass this important legislation. I want to give a special shout out to Senator Don Gaetz who was a champion for the adoption bill, including the amendment repealing the gay adoption ban.
Make no mistake, I would not have been able to accomplish this action with out the help of so many other representatives and senators. I too appreciate the help of SAVE and others in helping me win this historic change -- SAVE staffers and volunteer advocates met with key lawmakers to make the case for equality under Florida's adoption laws.
For the past two years, SAVE has honored me for my efforts at its annual Champions of Equality awards reception. Now, I'd like to return the favor by asking you to join me again this year on Friday, May 8 as SAVE honors three leading lights as its 2015 Champions of Equality. Buy your tickets here. >>
The work SAVE does to support pro-equality advocates like me is only made possible by grassroots supporters like you. By attending Champions of Equality, you can support both SAVE SAVE and our community leaders. I hope you will join me on May 8. Buy your tickets today. >>
Thank you for your continued support for advocates like me and organizations like SAVE.
State Representative David Richardson
Florida's 113th State House District