Pages Navigation Menu

Atlanta Killings Require Community Response (1992)

Atlanta Killings Require Community Response (1992)

©1992, 2013 by Dallas Denny

Source: Dallas Denny. (1992, January). Atlanta killings require community response. Renaissance News, V. 6, No. 1, p. 14.






I moved to Atlanta in December, 1989. I soon discovered transgendered people were being murdered in The City Too Busy To Hate on an average of once per month. Most of the victims were sex workers. Typically, their bodies were discovered in ditches and culverts with five or six gunshot wounds. The news was buried in the Atlanta Journal and the Atlanta Constitution, the city’s two newspapers, but received better treatment from Atlanta’s gay publications.

I was soon talking to anyone who would listen about the murders. I was interviewed on local television at least six times. The murders continued until they didn’t any more—and then there were three more in quick succession. The police never had a suspect—nor were they really looking for one.

I sent this article to transgender support groups and publications all around the United States.


Atlanta Killings Require Community Response (PDF)



Atlanta Killings Require Community Response

By Dallas Denny


The murders of three transgendered persons in Atlanta during a one-month period is a matter of grave concern. Whether or not the killings are related, they must be stopped. We hope and trust law enforcement officials will take immediate and thorough action to find the perpetrator(s) and put a stop to these tragic deaths. We urge Atlanta Mayor Maynard Jackson to make a public statement deploring the slayings and promising prompt action by the police.

Atlanta is not the only city where transgendered persons have been killed in number— nor were these the first such murders in Atlanta.The sad fact is that murders of transgendered persons— crossdressers and transsexual persons— are all too common. And there will be more unless society learns transgendered persons are people too. One need only substitute words for other members of society for “transsexual” or “crossdresser” to see just how our society devalues transgendered persons: “Three Children Murdered in Inner City.” “Another Dentist Found Dead on Interstate.” Would the police take immediate action if those were the headlines? Of course!

The horrible fact is that because of one or more unknown parties, three human beings in Atlanta are no longer alive.

Transsexual people are particularly vulnerable to hate crimes. Due to their often ambiguous appearance, which is attributable to their transition process, many present easy targets for ridicule or abuse. It is difficult for them to change their victim profile,for their body habitus is often at odds with their gender identity and their social role. Unlike the case with other sexual and gender minorities, transsexualism provides visual stigma which pervades every waking moment, even when the individual is trying to blend in.

We must increase vigilance on the part of our community. Transgendered persons must learn to look out for themselves. But we must also press law enforcement officials to protect the rights of transgendered persons and to speak out against hate crimes against all sexual and gender minorities.

Please express your concern about the Atlanta murders by writing Mayor Maynard Jackson, City Hall, 55 Trinity Ave., SW, Atlanta, GA 30335-0300.