Via Womanist Musings, I’ve just learned the devastating news that yet another trans woman has been murdered in an apparent hate crime. (Note: because of transphobia in the article, I am not quoting directly from it. Please read at your own discretion.)
The woman’s name was Kamilla; the only English language report I’ve been able to find does not give her last name. She had been living with a boyfriend of two years, named Vladimir. When Vladimir asked asked Kamilla to marry him, she declined. Apparently believing that she could not have possibly turned him down for her stated reason of not being ready to wed, he started going through her things, and found letters addressed to her former name. Upon further invasions of her privacy, he learned that she was trans.
Then he shot her dead.
Vladimir also slit his own wrists after murdering Kamilla. Of course he is still alive, and is now thankfully facing murder charges.
The circumstantial evidence quite clearly indicates that Vladimir murdered Kamilla because of transphobic and transmisogynistic hatred. And so, in fact, does the physical evidence. In his suicide note, Vladimir stated that he killed Kamilla because of her “betrayal.”
That’s right. Vladimir saw Kamilla being the person she was as a “betrayal” to him. And because the lives of trans individuals, and of just all women period, are seen as so expendable, he decided that the perceived “betrayal” was enough reason to take her life.
In other words, he saw his own cis gender identity as so much more valid than Kamilla’s gender identity that he decided she didn’t have the right to live. Instead of accepting her as the woman that she was, had always been, and had always presented herself as to him, or in fact instead of just walking away from the relationship, he decided to shoot her. When he learned that she was trans instead of cis, he didn’t only fail to continue seeing her as a woman. He failed to continue seeing her as human. And then in a supposed “last act,” he tried to pin his own actions on her.
I absolutely dread to see what the trial will be like. I imagine that the “trans panic” defense exists in Russia, too, and particularly judging from Vladimir’s note, it will almost certainly be used if he pleads not guilty. But I can only hope that the judicial system will recognize what Vladimir willfully ignored in his act of hatred: that Kamilla’s life, like all of our lives, had value and worth. And I hope that the most justice that can possibly be done will be done.
Rest in peace, Kamilla.