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Advocacy group says deaths of two Ohio transgender women were ‘hate crimes’

BOB VITALE | Outlook Columbus
Monday, December 9, 2013

Ohio’s LGBT community is mourning the deaths of two transgender women in Cleveland last week, and officials of a statewide LGBT advocacy group are calling the deaths hate crimes.

Betty Skinner, 52, was found dead Thursday morning in her apartment by a home-health aide, and Brittany Nicole Kidd Stergis, 22, was found dead in a car early Friday.

Betty Skinner

Betty Skinner

Brittany Stergis

Brittany Stergis

Skinner was beaten to death, according to WKYC-TV. Stergis was shot in the head, reported the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

They are the second and third transgender women killed in northeastern Ohio this year.

Cemia “CeCe” Dove, 20, was killed in January and her body was discovered in a suburban Cuyahoga County pond in April. Her killer was sentenced to life in prison in November.

Cleveland police told The Plain Dealer that there’s no indication the latest killings are related, but BRAVO, the Buckeye Region Anti-Violence Organization, didn’t hesitate to call the killings hate crimes.

“It is likely that both Betty and Brittany Nicole were targeted based on other’s perception of their gender identity and expression,” said Aaron Eckhardt, training and technical assistance director for the statewide group that addresses anti-LGBT violence.

Jacob Nash, former executive director of TransFamily, a transgender support group in Cleveland, told WKYC that the most recent deaths should be cause for concern in Cleveland, which expects about 30,000 LGBT and allied visitors next August when it hosts the 9th international Gay Games.

“I hate to put it out there, but with the gay games coming next year, the whole world is watching,” Nash said.

© Outlook Columbus. An LGBTQ Nation media partner.
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32 more reader comments:

  1. ‘Hate crimes’?

    Posted on Monday, December 9, 2013 at 8:50pm
  2. You obviously do not understand 'hate".

    Replied on Monday, December 9, 2013 at 9:05pm
  3. Ughhhhhh why can’t people leave people alone? Why must someone suffer such hate? Why can’t people let people be who they were meant to be?? This is my biggest fear for my child. I would seriously hunt someone down if my child was ever a victim of a hate crime. Nothing would stop me.

    Posted on Monday, December 9, 2013 at 8:52pm
  4. MURDER IS A HATE CRIME!!!!! PERIOD.

    Posted on Monday, December 9, 2013 at 8:52pm
  5. May they R.I.P.

    Posted on Monday, December 9, 2013 at 8:54pm
  6. this is frightening…I don’t feel safe in Ohio

    Posted on Monday, December 9, 2013 at 9:03pm
  7. I’m asking why it’s in the title like that? That makes it sound like it’s not really a hate crime.

    Posted on Monday, December 9, 2013 at 9:11pm
  8. i think it's in the title that way because the "advocacy group" is calling it that, but the police have not classified it that way.

    Replied on Tuesday, December 10, 2013 at 4:20am
  9. Wow….how sad

    Posted on Monday, December 9, 2013 at 9:12pm
  10. Randy Petersen Thank you. That’s terrible

    Posted on Monday, December 9, 2013 at 9:22pm
  11. Sending prayers to these THREE families of these beautiful women. Seems like too big a “coincident” for these crimes to not be related. May you all be safe and have a blessed day.

    Posted on Monday, December 9, 2013 at 9:55pm
  12. So tragic! May they rest peacefully now… Blessings.

    Posted on Monday, December 9, 2013 at 9:58pm
  13. This is terrible

    Posted on Monday, December 9, 2013 at 10:12pm
  14. So terrible and u would think that things were changing no there is still evil people they deserve that

    Posted on Monday, December 9, 2013 at 10:16pm
  15. Horrible

    Posted on Monday, December 9, 2013 at 10:48pm
  16. :(

    Posted on Tuesday, December 10, 2013 at 1:30am
  17. police need to look a little harder–these were someones children

    Posted on Tuesday, December 10, 2013 at 1:35am
  18. GOD please just leave people alone and let them live life…RIP….Love and courage to the family and friends.

    Posted on Tuesday, December 10, 2013 at 1:38am
  19. That is so sad, and a damn shame that people can be so heartless!! Bless their heart…prayers to the families for sure.

    Posted on Tuesday, December 10, 2013 at 2:03am
  20. prison for life acums JUDGE PLEASE life

    Posted on Tuesday, December 10, 2013 at 2:14am
  21. How could you hate someone so much you could kill them! Moreover, how could you beat an already helpless disabled person! Ugh this hurts my heart so bad!

    Posted on Tuesday, December 10, 2013 at 2:34am
  22. That is appalling—hate crimes show that homophobia is still rife!!!

    Posted on Tuesday, December 10, 2013 at 3:30am
  23. We can remain passive no longer. This is unconscionable and tragic! Our sisters and brothers shouldn’t have to die because there are so many ignorant assholes out there. Stricter punishments for hate crimes and no more passive shit! My brothers and sisters….there are far too many people out there that would harm us or worse. Protect yourselves no matter what!!!

    Posted on Tuesday, December 10, 2013 at 3:57am
  24. My God, when will the insanity STOP???? Rest well ladies…:’(

    Posted on Tuesday, December 10, 2013 at 5:28am
  25. So sad! :(

    Posted on Tuesday, December 10, 2013 at 7:23am
  26. Their authorities need to take a page from Tampa’s judicial book. They just gave a gay basher thug 23 years to think his actions (and hopefully his attitude of bigotry) over.

    Posted on Tuesday, December 10, 2013 at 7:26am
  27. R.I.P. you two beautiful angels <3
    Of course its a hatecrime!When will it ever end :(?

    Posted on Tuesday, December 10, 2013 at 8:04am
  28. That is so sad.

    Posted on Tuesday, December 10, 2013 at 10:13am
  29. That is so sad. I hate to hear about this shit. Like Gidget said, why can’t people just leave people alone. Let people be who they want to be. As long as they are not bothering others…LEAVE EVERY ONE YOU DON’T LIKE ALONE!!!

    Posted on Tuesday, December 10, 2013 at 10:21am
  30. So sad to here of the murder of these women, RIP

    Posted on Tuesday, December 10, 2013 at 3:42pm
  31. SO Sad may they both RIP

    Posted on Tuesday, December 10, 2013 at 3:45pm
  32. I have a new idea. What if we made murdering LGBT folks as mandatory capital punishment with the type of execution as burning at the stake? Leave LGBT people alone!

    Posted on Tuesday, December 10, 2013 at 4:26pm