In memoriam: Tamara Dominguez

Last month our community bore witness to an horrific crime against humanity perpetrated on Tamara Dominguez, a woman born with a sex-determinative chromosomal combination of XY.  After Tamara’s slaying supporters gathered in mourning to lend support to her friends and family and rallied in defense of trans rights. Individuals theorized over social and news media that the crime was motivated by rage when Tamara’s client discovered “she was actually a man,” particularizing and isolating intellectually the situation to make themselves and others feel more at ease. “Why was she working as a prostitute?” “Why was she in such a dangerous part of the city at night?” “Doesn’t she have a duty to tell her John upfront she was trans?” “Serves her right.”  Blaming-the-vicitm conversations abound.

Other questions should be asked.  What do we need to do to better inform people that gender and sex are different?  What does it say about our society that Tamara, a beautiful woman, was relegated to work as a prostitute rather than able to find meaningful employ in a different field?  Why is this crime not discussed first as a crime against humanity, and then treated with particularity?  What prevents us from seeing Tamara’s humanity first?  How can we make our cities safer?  Where do we go from here?

If you or a loved one is the victim of violence, please reach out to the Kansas City Anti-Violence Project, the Kansas City Police Department or any of the numerous resources available in our community. If you’re an undocumented or out of status immigrant, do not be afraid to approach law enforcement; in fact, U-Visas are available to you to help you legitimize your status in the country if you make a police report and cooperate with authorities in solving the crime.  Working together, we can all help to make our society safer, more aware, more vigilant, and more peaceful.

Rest in peace, Tamara.