Trans Woman Murdered In Oakland In Apparent Hate Crime
A transgender woman was shot and killed while sitting in her car in downtown Oakland last weekend, and it’s take a few days for local media outlets to catch up to the story. The case seems pretty obviously to be a hate crime, though police are not yet releasing a motive, and it’s unclear if there are any suspects — though three other transgender women in the car at the time were witnesses.
37-year-old Brandy Martell was a trans activist and counselor in the East Bay, having organized the last five annual Transgender Days of Remembrance, honoring victims of trans hate. She was sitting in the driver’s seat of her car with three friends around 3 a.m. Sunday near Franklin and 13th Streets when a pair of men approached the car and had a conversation. They informed the men that they were trans, and after an apparently cordial conversation, the men walked off, as Oakland North reports. Then around 5:15 a.m. the men returned, and one of them pointed the barrel of a gun through the driver’s-side window and shot Martell twice. She tried to drive off, but only made it as far as the next intersection before succumbing to her wounds. The two men fled on foot. Martell’s was one of three murders that occurred in the city that night.
Martell’s friend, Tiffany Woods, has been doing her best to publicize the story, and a small memorial sprung up at the corner where a small gathering took place on Sunday. There will be a public funeral next Wednesday, May 9, at 11 a.m. at CP Bannon Mortuary on International Boulevard.
The area around nearby Broadway and 14th has become, in recent years, an outdoor gathering place, particularly on weekend nights, for Oakland’s trans youth and trans women in particular. As Woods told ABC 7, “When you don’t provide a space in society for people who you think are the other or different, especially transgender women, especially transgender women of color … a safe space… this is what happens.”
my heart is breaking, keeps breaking.