Kansas City Calls for Action and Healing in Response to Tamara Dominguez's Murder

08/21/2015 11:29 am ET Updated Aug 21, 2016

The Kansas City Anti-Violence Project, Una Lucha KC, The Justice Project and One Struggle KC call for action and healing in response to the murder of Tamara Dominguez, a transgender Latina woman, in Kansas City, Missouri. She is the 17th reported homicide of a transgender woman killed since January 1, 2015, according to the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP).

Kansas City Anti-Violence Project, Una Lucha KC, The Justice Project and One Struggle KC were devastated to learn of Tamara Dominguez's tragic death on August 17, 2015. Tamara was intentionally run over three times by a large vehicle, sending a threatening, direct message of hate towards other trans-women and the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) Latin@ communities in Kansas City. Our organizations are working collectively together to help support and advocate with Tamara's chosen family and friends.

Our hearts are heavy with grief that another member of our community was taken too soon. We lift up Tamara's family, friends and the entire transgender and LGBQ communities in love and support through these difficult times.

Tamara was loved and cherished by her chosen family. She is survived by her partner of six years and her four dogs--Luna, Travis, Sensei and Arigato. Her partner shared, "She was happy with who she was and it didn't matter what her family told her." She was cherished for her smile, laughed always and was overall known as a sweet, gentle and generous person. Tamara was a beloved cook and her partner and chosen family loved her shrimp ceviche and empanadas. Her close friends shared, "they want the focus on who did this, not her being transgender."

The murder of trans women, particularly trans women of color, is a real epidemic facing our nation. We demand immediate attention on both local and national levels to end this violence.

Tamara's chosen family wishes for her body to remain in the United States. Unfortunately, the legal protocol for how her final image will be remembered is currently dictated by her only blood family member in Kansas City, her brother. Her partner and chosen family want others to know they are concerned that Tamara's hair will be cut, her body will be disrespected, she will be dressed in masculine clothing and her biological family in Mexico will not give her a proper burial. Her biological family is not supportive of Tamara as a woman, nor her transgender identity. Her chosen family is collecting donations for memorial services for Tamara, as well as supporting her partner and community through this process of grief and healing. We encourage the community to send support directly to them on their GoFundMe page.

After the murder of Dionte Greene on October 31, 2014, and our Kansas City LGBTQ townhalls, it's become increasingly apparent that LGBTQ people, specifically those who are members of our transgender and communities of color, are grieving from multiple acts of violence and trauma that have impacted Kansas City this past year. Tamara's brutal murder has sent a ripple effect of fear across the city as many trans women of color and transgender people are expressing concerns over their physical and emotional safety. Kansas City Anti-Violence Project, Una Lucha KC and The Justice Project are planning a series of community healing events and support groups for the communities most impacted by this violence. The first community healing event will be hosted on Sunday, August 30th. Please follow updates surrounding this event here.

Kansas City Anti-Violence Project, Una Lucha KC, The Justice Project and One Struggle KC are also concerned by the use of transphobic language in media coverage of this murder. By mis-naming and mis-gendering Tamara Dominguez, the media is using transphobic language that perpetuates a culture of violence against transgender people. We are especially concerned that The Kansas City Star, after initially reporting that Tamara was a man, when being challenged by local activists, refused to acknowledge their mistake. Instead, they continue to defend their position to misgender her in their Editor's op-ed piece.

Our organizations are aware that media coverage of transgender women of color is essential at this point in time to remind and activate our nation to demand that this violence and hatred stop. However, we also are aware and have seen locally how certain organizations and media outlets will be quick to jump on any press that can promote their own agendas. We encourage the media not to use any representatives from The Transgender Institute. We are aware that Tamara, as well as members of her chosen family and communities, actively chose not to utilize their services because they are not inclusive of trans-women of color, nor are they accessible financially to many who wish to access their services. When reporting on trans-women of color's experiences, we also encourage media to intentionally seek out agencies and individuals who closely represent the identities and experiences of those most impacted by this horrific violence.

Together, we must challenge a transphobic society and institutional racism that jeopardizes our security and perpetuates violence towards our LGBTQ communities.
Action Steps
  • Donate directly to the chosen family's GoFundMe page, which will help support the memorial services and her partner.

  • Encourage your local bars, restaurants, businesses and organizations to support Tamara's family and our transgender and Latin@ communities directly impacted by her murder.
  • Attend the LGBTQ community healing event on Sunday, August 30th, where we will be coping with the impact of violence directed at our LGBTQ communities in Kansas City. This space will be free of media and law enforcement. More updates about the event can be found on KCAVP's facebook page.
  • Reach out to KCAVP for access to support and advocacy services, attend Una Lucha KC and One Struggle KC actions and community events, and support The Justice Project's direct work with transgender women impacted by violence.
  • Anyone who identifies as Transgender or LGBQ, and is in grieving surrounding this brutal murder is encouraged to reach out to KCAVP for free support and advocacy services. Help is available by calling 816-561-0550 or emailing info@kcavp.org.