|Sumaya Dalmar was found deceased in the East York area on Sunday Feb. 22, 2015|
Sumaya Dalmar, also known as Sumaya Ysl was found deceased on Sunday morning in the Main and Danforth area in Toronto. Dalmar was a 26 year-old Somali trans-woman well known within the LGBT community. However, sadly enough, her death was barely (if at all) reported in the news until Tuesday, February 24, 2015. Even with the news now, police have very little to report other than that her death did not appear to be homicide. Despite Toronto Police’s statements, many believe her death may have been homicide after all. With respect to the victim, police are declining to provide further information at this time.
The lack media coverage on crimes against the LGBT community is prevalent, especially if the victim is of colour. Provided that Dalmar is a transgender woman of colour sparks debates on whether her death would have reserved more time on the news, or more attention by Toronto Police if she identified as white, heterosexual and perhaps not a woman. Perhaps the lack of coverage is due to lack in evidence that her death was indeed a homicide.
Despite the cause of her death, there is very little evidence that her death was NOT a homicide. As Police continue to seek assistance from the public for more information, this confirms that there is room for more investigation and that denying homicide is perhaps a step in the wrong direction at this time.
Statistics of murder on transgender victims are difficult due to misgendering of the victims. This calls for information on preferred gender to be included for identification purposes on government issued identification. The transition from dualism thinking is important, although many may disagree.
The lack of media coverage for missing or murdered women of colour, despite their sexual orientation has been a problem from before our generation. Missing First Nations women, especially in Mainland, British Columbia is an ongoing battle for First Nations communities and supporters nationwide. Police involvement (or lack thereof) is also questioned. Many of the First Nations women identifying as sex trade workers and this feeds into the complexity of the issue. Unfortunately, many individuals believe that crimes against sex trade workers isn’t much of a crime at all, especially if the crime is of sexual nature, due to their line of work.
The above noted discussion serves as an eye-opener of how the intersection of social markers seems to be correlated with the amount of media coverage, attention by Police and other governing bodies and how much the public is aware of the issue in itself.
Without communication of the issues, people remain oblivious to the seriousness and prevalence of such issues. The push for more awareness and action is understandable when specific communities are excluded from media, police and public attention.
Dalmar is remembered by loved ones at a memorial on March 3, 2015, 6pm, at the 519 Community Centre.
519 Community Centre
519 Church Street