Transgender Hate Crime at Dallas Car Wash

Transgender Hate Crime at Dallas Car Wash

By Natasha Richtermeyer

On April 24, 2021, Tiffany Thomas was found dead outside of a car wash on American Way in the Red Bird area of Dallas, Texas.[1] Thomas was killed by a gunshot wound, though the person who shot her was never identified. Her death was reported to law enforcement when passerby saw her unresponsive body on the ground. She was pronounced dead at the scene, though further investigation indicates she was likely shot around midnight.[2]

 

Thomas was a 38-year-old black, transgender woman. Her death occurred at a time when violence against transgender people was at a decade high.[3] In 2021, there were 59 recorded deaths against non-gender conforming and transgender people. This was the highest recorded number of deaths since 2013, which is the year Human Rights Campaign began recording data on violent deaths of transgender and nonbinary people.[4]

 

Thomas’s case is particularly interesting because the investigation into her murder was significantly delayed when police were unable to properly identify her body. Upon being contacted by police to identify Thomas, her family insisted she was not a transgender person, claiming she was a man. However, she was found wearing female clothing and was known as “Tiffany,” a female presenting name.[5]

 

This atrocious act of violence is a significant human rights issue as it demonstrates the erasure of transgender people, the continuing rise of gender identity hate crimes, and the danger of firearms in enabling heat-of-the-moment hate crimes.

 

Kelli at PlanetTransgender stated that “the family’s erasure of Tiffany” by not acknowledging her transness “is not only cowardly but a grave disservice to other trans women in Dallas.” By trying to portray Thomas as a cis-black man, her family essentially erases the cause of this hate crime from the narrative.[6]

 

The case also points to the continuing rise of hate crimes related to gender identity in the 21st century. Thomas’s case was one of 59 reported fatal hate crimes in 2021 against gender non-conformity and transgender individuals. In 2023 at least forty transgender people were killed.[7] It is important to note that these numbers are underreporting owing to legal processing delays, misreporting, lack of reporting, and an ongoing number of missing transgender persons cases in the US. Thomas’ family response to hide her gender identity is an example of how misreporting can lead to underreporting.

 

The use of a firearm in the murder of Thomas is significant as it points to a much larger problem of over-accessibility to deadly weapons. A 2020 report from the Human Rights Campaign stated that over 10,000 violent hate crimes occur by firearms in the US every single year. This averages to approximately 28-gun related hate crimes per day.[8] These statistics exemplify a key and often overlooked point in the gun rights debate in America, which is that certain groups are significantly more affected by wide access to guns than others. Furthermore, these groups tend to be the ones with the least representation in the discussions surrounding firearms policies.

 

Tiffany Thomas is remembered by friends as a “stylish” woman with a “big heart” who “stayed laughing” all the time.[9]

 


Endnotes

[1] “Still no arrests after death of Black transgender woman in Dallas” WFAA https://www.wfaa.com/article/news/local/no-arrests-death-black-transgender-woman-dallas-tiffany-thomas/287-ee96a3ab-5889-4dc9-8bcd-fc9e372af087

 

[2] HRC Mourns Tiffany Thomas, Black Transgender Woman Killed in Dallas.” Human Rights Campaign, 4 May 2021; Madeline Roberts.

https://www.hrc.org/news/hrc-mourns-tiffany-thomas-black-transgender-woman-killed-in-dallas

#:~:text=in%20Dallas%2C%20Texas.-,HRC%20is%20deeply%20saddened%20to%20learn%20

of%20the%20death%20of,non%2Dconforming%20person%20in%202021.

 

[3] HRC Mourns Tiffany Thomas, Black Transgender Woman Killed in Dallas.” Human Rights Campaign, 4 May 2021; Madeline Roberts.

 

[4] “Fatal Violence Against the Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Community in 2021” Human Rights Campaign. https://www.hrc.org/resources/fatal-violence-against-the-transgender-and-gender-non-conforming-community-in-2021   Laurel Powell, “2021 Becomes Deadliest Year on Record for Transgender and Non-Binary People” Human Rights Campaign, Press Releases, November 9, 2021.

 

[5] “Tiffany Thomas.” Remembering Our Dead, 25 April 2021, Updated 12 November 2021. https://tdor.translivesmatter.info/reports/2021/04/24/tiffany-thomas_dallas-texas-usa_d6182fee

 

[6] “Tiffany Thomas.” Remembering Our Dead, 25 April 2021, Updated 12 November 2021. https://tdor.translivesmatter.info/reports/2021/04/24/tiffany-thomas_dallas-texas-usa_d6182fee

 

[7] “Fatal Violence Against the Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Community in 2022.” Human Rights Campaign, Resources.

https://www.hrc.org/resources/fatal-violence-against-the-transgender-and-gender-non-conformin

g-community-in-2022

 

[8] HRC Mourns Tiffany Thomas, Black Transgender Woman Killed in Dallas.” Human Rights Campaign, 4 May 2021; Madeline Roberts.

https://www.hrc.org/news/hrc-mourns-tiffany-thomas-black-transgender-woman-killed-in-dallas

#:~:text=in%20Dallas%2C%20Texas.-,HRC%20is%20deeply%20saddened%20to%20learn%20

of%20the%20death%20of,non%2Dconforming%20person%20in%202021.

 

[9] HRC Mourns Tiffany Thomas, Black Transgender Woman Killed in Dallas.” Human Rights Campaign, 4 May 2021; Madeline Roberts.

https://www.hrc.org/news/hrc-mourns-tiffany-thomas-black-transgender-woman-killed-in-dallas

#:~:text=in%20Dallas%2C%20Texas.-,HRC%20is%20deeply%20saddened%20to%20learn%20

of%20the%20death%20of,non%2Dconforming%20person%20in%202021.

 

Street Address:

7184 American Way, Dallas, TX [map]

Cite this Page:

Natasha Richtermeyer, “Transgender Hate Crime at Dallas Car Wash,” Human Rights Dallas Maps, accessed May 23, 2024, https://humanrightsdallasmaps.com/items/show/39.

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