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Councilman: Murder of transgender woman should be investigated as hate crime

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

CLEVELAND, Ohio — A Cleveland City Council member has called on authorities to investigate as a hate crime the death of a 20-year-old transgender woman whose body was found in a northeastern Ohio pond in April and identified this week.

Twenty-year-old Cemia Dove of Cleveland was reported missing March 27, according to The Plain Dealer. Her partially clothed body, tethered to a concrete block, was found in an Olmstead Township pond on April 17.

Cemia Dove

“She did not deserve to die as what is likely a hate crime,” Cleveland Councilman Joe Cimperman said in a news release quoted by WEWS-TV. “Too often we lose loved ones because of fear or hate. Violence should not be tolerated against anyone regardless of race, gender identity, gender expression or sexual orientation.”

BRAVO, the Buckeye Region Anti-Violence Organization, also called Dove’s death a hate crime and noted that it’s the third time this year in the United States that a transwoman of color has been murdered.

BRAVO said there were 111 hate crimes documented in 2011 in Ohio against LGBT people. Federal hate-crimes law was expanded in 2009 to include acts of violence against people based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Nationally, the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs documented 30 murders against LGBT people in 2011, the highest total it has ever recorded. Transgender women and LGBT people of color were most often victimized.

Dove, born Carl Acoff Jr., had had a series of run-ins with police from Cleveland’s Regional Transit Authority. Readers reacted angrily toward The Plain Dealer for focusing much of its coverage of Dove’s death on those troubles, which the paper said included once identifying herself verbally to authorities as a woman and later acknowledging to them that her identification listed her as a male.

The Plain Dealer’s initial story referred to Dove using male pronouns, but it was later changed. The initial headline referred to Dove as an “oddly dressed body.”

Gloria McCauley, executive director of BRAVO, said she was “outraged at the media’s flagrant disregard for human dignity.”

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14 more reader comments:

  1. sad! and she was pretty too :(

    Posted on Wednesday, May 1, 2013 at 9:28pm
  2. And pressure needs to be placed on the Cleveland Plain Dealer for their outrageous reporting on this case… and possibly the police department for their handling and characterization of the victim.

    Posted on Wednesday, May 1, 2013 at 9:30pm
  3. BTW – What is a LGBTQ publication doing referencing her former name? This is not with acceptable communities standards. What did her former name matter? Was disclosing it necessary to the story?

    Posted on Wednesday, May 1, 2013 at 9:35pm
  4. Aw, *tisk* she really was pretty, huh. *sigh* that makes it so much harder. Losing the pretty people is such a waste, amiright??? Gosh, why couldn’t she have not fit into the parameters of what our society deems as esthetically pleadings. Woulda been so much easier to brush aside. Aw, nuts.

    Posted on Wednesday, May 1, 2013 at 9:48pm
  5. of course the murder should be considered a hate crime.stupid headline!!

    Posted on Wednesday, May 1, 2013 at 9:50pm
  6. in stories related to deaths and murders, it is common journalistic practice to identify the victim by their legal name. i don’t know if she legally changed it or not, but i’m guessing that’s why they wrote the story that way. they did identify her by chosen identity and female pronouns throughout, so lighten up.

    Posted on Wednesday, May 1, 2013 at 9:54pm
  7. Well its what the councilman said the stupid remark was for.

    Posted on Wednesday, May 1, 2013 at 10:07pm
  8. People are stupid. Only ignorance serves as what people describe as hatred.

    Posted on Wednesday, May 1, 2013 at 10:53pm
  9. How about every murder be investigated as a hate crime. No life is worth any more or less than any other. Wrong is wrong regardless of what demographic it was done to.

    Posted on Thursday, May 2, 2013 at 12:33am
  10. Most Certainly it should be a hate crime! While “every life is important” those who are TARGETED and vulnerable because of their sexuality as in the past by groups of thugs attacking one solitary person we should be protected.Those who do not understand this often come from the majority protected, accepted and less likely to be abused / targeted heterosexual community ! ;o(

    Posted on Thursday, May 2, 2013 at 2:09am
  11. Most Certainly it should be a hate crime! While “every life is important” those who are TARGETED and vulnerable because of their sexuality as in the past by groups of thugs attacking one solitary person we should be protected.Those who do not understand this often come from the majority protected, accepted and less likely to be abused / targeted heterosexual community ! ;o(

    Posted on Thursday, May 2, 2013 at 2:19am
  12. Hmmm…Interesting how the moderators have censored criticism of LGBTQ News’s failure to follow to LGBT community (GLAAD), professional (AP. NY Times, WashPost), and basic human decency standards standards for reporting on transgender individual. My comments with citations deleted, and yet the transphobic and violation of standards remains in LGBTQ’s reporting. I guess this is more of a LGB news and the T and Q are just their to look pretty.

    Please remove the reference to her prior name. It is not relevant to the story and is a direct affront to her identity as a WOMAN named Cemia Dove.

    Posted on Thursday, May 2, 2013 at 2:44am
  13. can you say “no sh!t “

    Posted on Thursday, May 2, 2013 at 8:12am
  14. Here’s my problem with hate-crime laws in general: Being targeted doesn’t make your life worth more than another innocent person. Innocent is still innocent. While I agree that those who are more vulnerable should have more protection, I disagree that said protection needs to come in the form of having heavier penalties for one demographic over another. That’s not really protection, that’s basically telling everyone that one person’s life is worth more than someone else’s. This crime would be just as wrong regardless of the demographic. True protection comes in the form of prevention and hate-crime laws are not it. These only deal with the issue after the fact. How is treating her life as worth more protecting her?

    For her these hate-crime laws are too little too late.
    She’s dead
    and no hate-crime law did a goddamn thing to stop it. In the end it only adds to discrimination and class separation even more and does nothing to prevent it.

    Posted on Thursday, May 2, 2013 at 9:37am