Thursday, August 07, 2014

Tyra Hunter: Plus 19

We must never forget what happened to Tyra on this day. We must also diligently work to ensure that what she suffered at the hands of emergency personnel is not replicated in our locales. The message must be made crystal clear to our first responders that when they swear to serve and protect, that means ALL citizens.
TransGriot  August 7, 2007

Today is the 19th anniversary of a trans death that occurred in Washington DC on August 7, 1995 due to medical transphobia.

It occurred at the corner of 50th and C Streets in Southeast DC that would witness an even more horrific death several years later that is still yet to be solved. 

This is the day that 24 year old Tyra Hunter was a passenger in a car that was involved in an auto accident at that Southeast DC corner and suffered injuries that had she been treated properly she would have survived.

But because of DC Fire Department EMT Adrian Williams' transphobia, and a run in with another transphobic doctor after her arrival at the now closed DC General Hospital, failure to be treated at the accident scene and in the hospital led to her death.   

The thing that really incensed the Washington DC trans community, myself and everyone else in the national trans community in the wake of the tragedy was Williams received a promotion from the DC Fire Department several years later. 

Health care deniedThe Tyra Hunter case stays with me because it happened a mere 13 months into my own transition, I still get upset when I think about it, and as long as this blog exists I'm going to continue writing about it because medical transphobia is still happening.

During our fight to pass the HERO, a transman testified that he was denied emergency care at a local hospital by a transphobic doctor.   

The Tyra Hunter incident was one of the trans human rights outrages that began to nudge me in the direction of becoming an activist and trans rights advocate.  I was determined to never again have something as egregious as this happen to one of our sisters at the hands of an EMT, doctor or other medical personnel that could result in death of that trans person.

We can't bring Tyra back, but the best way to honor her memory is to continue as a community to be vigilant and ensure that medical transphobia never takes another trans life, and scream loudly when it does.. 

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