Muhlaysia Booker’s Murder Uncovered Cracks in Dallas’ LGBT Community

On April 12, Muhlaysia Booker, a black trans woman from Dallas, was jumped by a group of men yelling homophobic slurs in the parking lot of her apartment complex. A video of the beating was broadcast all over the world.

Days later, she went public and spoke out against her attackers, backed by members of the black trans community in Dallas.

“She knew she had to. But that’s not what she wanted. She didn’t want to do it. And she didn’t want to do it because she knew her doing it would put other people’s lives in jeopardy,” said Booker’s friend Robyn “Pocahontas” Crowe.

Four weeks later, Booker was found dead from a gunshot wound to the head.

Booker was the fifth trans woman killed so far this year, and one of 133 killed in the last six years, according to LGBT advocacy group the Human Rights Campaign. Two-thirds of those murdered were black, and more were killed in the South than in any other region.

But Dallas is supposed to be different. Since at least the 1970s, the city has had a vibrant LGBT community, concentrated in the historic neighborhood of Oak Lawn. Today, that community has several allies in government and law enforcement.

But Muhlaysia Booker’s friends say that progress is limited by race and class — and specifically, that it does not extend to black trans women like them, and that the city has done nothing to stop the violence they routinely face. Even Oak Lawn, the city’s historic “gayborhood, has been gentrified beyond recognition.

“It makes us feel like we’re not wanted anywhere,” said Booker’s friend Mieko Hicks.

VICE News went to Dallas to learn how Muhlaysia Booker’s death affected the city’s black trans community.

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Rosario Dawson: Cory Booker is ‘a wonderful man’

Actress Rosario Dawson says her partner – Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Cory Booker – is wonderful and reveals he provided a brief vocal take on her short movie, “Boundless.” The actress noted that Booker doesn’t plan on acting again. (April 26)

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Sen. Booker makes first visit to New Hampshire

Sen. Cory Booker kicked off his first visit to New Hampshire as a Democratic presidential candidate Saturday, urging voters to reject the “powers that are ripping us apart.” (Feb.16)

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Booker takes 2020 campaign to Iowa

New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker took his campaign message of social justice to Iowa, where he visited with residents Friday on his first trip as a Democratic presidential candidate to the early 2020 caucus state. (Feb. 8)

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Booker joins an already crowded 2020 field

(1 Feb 2019) New Jersey Senator Cory Booker is appealing to Americans to come together from their partisan corners as he launches his 2020 presidential candidacy. Booker says he want to help Americans find common ground. (Feb. 1)

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Suspicious package sent to NJ Sen. Cory Booker

(26 Oct 2018) A suspicious package addressed to Democratic Sen. Cory Booker, and similar to crude pipe bombs sent to prominent critics of President Trump, was recovered in Florida Friday, leading to increased security at Booker’s offices in New Jersey. (Oct. 26)

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Booker questions Kavanaugh about gay marriage

(7 Sep 2018) Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh declined to express his opinion on gay marriage when questioned about it by Democratic Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey during Thursday’s confirmation hearings. (Sept. 7)

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Booker to Nielsen: Your Silence is Complicity

Sen. Cory Booker is criticizing the Homeland Security secretary for saying she can’t recall President Trump using vulgarity to describe African countries. And Sen. Lindsey Graham blames Trump’s staff for the president’s about-face on immigration. (Jan. 16)

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