Three Charged with Gruesome Murder of Houston Transgender Teen Ally Steinfeld

By Sabrina Samone

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TMP iReporter Grace Ann Ashcraft

Three people are accused of murdering a Houston, Mo teenager who was recently reported missing.


Online court records indicate 18-year-old Andrew Vrba and 18-year-old Isis Schauer of Houston, and 24-year-old Briana Calderas of Cabool, were charged Thursday with first degree murder and abandonment of a corpse. Vrba also faces charges of armed criminal action.

The three suspects are accused of killing 17-year-old Ally Steinfeld of Houston, who has been dead named as Joseph Steinfeld in recent local news reports.

The Houston Herald reports that burned remains were later identified as Steinfeld’s, who had been reported missing the week prior. The remains were discovered by the Texas County Sheriff’s Office at Calderas’ mobile home near Cabool. Vrba reportedly told authorities that he stabbed Steinfield in the living room of the mobile home, and that all three, Schauer, Calderas, and Vrba wrapped up the victim’s body, took it outside, and destroyed the body by burning it. According to a probable cause statement, the women traveled to Walmart in Houston and Mountain Grove to buy items to aid in the burning of the body.


Steinfeld’s cell phone and a knife were recovered at the property, and stains believed to be blood were located inside the home.

Online court records did not indicate any future hearing dates for the three suspects, and no attorneys were listed.

The investigation is ongoing. Officers remained on the scene Friday.

It was quoted as being, “a grisly terrible series of heinous acts by the accused“, said Texas County Prosecutor Parke Stevens Jr.

Vrba told law enforcement officers that some of the bones were placed in a garbage bag, which was transferred to a chicken coop on the property. Officers executed a search warrant and also found human bones in a burn pile next to the residence. Apparent blood stains were discovered on the living room carpet. Caldereas admitted that the death occurred there, but denied that she wanted the teen, whose preferred name was Ally Steinfeld, according to a social media posting, to die. A cellular telephone belonging to Steinfeld and a knife were recovered at the property.

Facebook messages between the women gave officers a break in the teen’s death, which apparently occurred Sept. 3, six days before Steinfeld’s Birthday.

The women told officers that Vrba bragged about the murder and it’s brutality, according to court documents.

Condolences are pouring onto Ally Steinfeld’s Facebook page, where her last post before being reported missing was on August the 27th, where she wrote, “I feeling little bit beautiful how likes my hair i got it red.”

 

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A Judge in Brazil Approves ‘Gay Conversion Therapy’

By Sabrina Samone

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TMP Brazil iReporter Sammy Sarvaris

Yearly, on November 20th, trans people across the globe gather to read the names of fallen sisters and brothers. We honor their lives by speaking their names, and refusing to let the world forget the transphobic hate that took their lives. The names are from all walks of life, and nearly every country, but trans women of color and particularly those in Brazil leaves our community gasping at the number and degree of violence trans people face in Brazil.

According to Gay Group Bahia¹, over 275 lgbt persons have been murdered in one year in Brazil. The stats shows that over 200 gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender people have been murdered between January 1 and September this year. The group’s study, which estimated the number using police records and news reports in the region, found that 43 percent of the times took place in the North East. 35% of victims were trans people, while 59% of those were gay, and 4% were lesbians. Though homosexuality is not a crime in Brazil, it is notorious for having one of the highest murder rates for LGBT people – and transgender people in particular – in the world

Each year, and in particularly on Transgender Day of Remembrance², we listen to the growing names of transgender people being murdered in Brazil. It is this very reason, with the growing murder rate, the latest action of a judge in Brazil has become exceptionally troubling. In a country already beyond an epidemic of homophobia and transphobia, a judge has approved conversion therapy of gay people.

Actions like these give a license for even swifter, uglier forms of hate, and considering this is Brazil, that is beyond alarming.

Waldemar de Carvalho, a federal judge in the capital of Brasília, overruled a 1999 decision by the Federal Council of Psychology that forbade psychologists from offering widely discredited treatments which claims to “cure” gay people.

Coming a week after a bank cancelled an exhibition of gay art after protests from rightwing and evangelical Christian groups, the ruling has raised fears that progressive policies could be overturned.

Brazil has a growing population of evangelical Christians who have protested vociferously at plotlines in television soap operas featuring gay or transgender characters, and increasingly ally themselves with burgeoning rightwing groups.

This decision is a big regression to the progressive conquests that the LBGT community had in recent decades,” David Miranda, a leftist councillor in Rio de Janeiro and one of the country’s few openly gay politicians, told the Guardian. “Like various countries in the world, Brazil is suffering a conservative wave.”

Ivete Sangolo, one of Brazil’s most celebrated singers, wrote:

“The sick ones are those who believe in this grand absurdity,”in an Instagram post commenting on the ruling.

Judge de Carvalho ruled in favor of an action brought by Rozangela Justino, an evangelical Christian and psychologist whose license was revoked in 2016 after she offered “conversion therapy”.

In a 2009 interview with the Folha de S Paulo newspaper, Justino said she saw homosexuality as a “disease”, advised patients to seek religious guidance and said: “I feel directed by God to help people who are homosexual.”

The Federal Council of Psychology said in a statement that the decision “opens the dangerous possibility of the use of sexual reversion therapies” and promised to contest it legally.

Council president Rogério Giannini, a psychologist based in São Paulo, said its 1999 decision prohibiting “sexual conversion” therapy had already faced off other legal actions and even a proposed bill in Congress.

“We have no power over research,” Giannini said in a Guardian interview. “The way it was put by the judge gave the impression that we prohibited research which is not true.”

As hashtags like #curagay (“gay cure”)³ trended in Brazil, Twitter users used memes and GIFs to ridicule the decision.

“They tried to make me go to rehab, I said no, no, no,” tweeted one Brazilian using the name Ubiratan.

Blasphemy is using the word of God to justify one’s hate or own personal sins. Those actions have consequences, and unfortunately our trans sisters and brothers who are often the easiest known targets of LGBT hate may face a heavier toll than we could ever imagine if such legislation continues to go unnoticed and rivaled by the world’s LGBT communities.


  1. Groupo Gay Da Bahia, LGBT rights organization in Brazil similar to the HRC in America.
  2. TDOR (Transgender Day of Remembrance) was set aside to memorialize those who were killed due to anti-transgender hatred or prejudice. The event is held in November to honor Rita Hester, whose murder on November 28th, 1998 kicked off the “Remembering Our Dead” web project and a San Francisco candlelight vigil in 1999. Rita Hester’s murder — like most anti-transgender murder cases — has yet to be solved.
  3. Trending hashtag on twitter in response to Brazilian Judges decision

 

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Gwynevere River Song Becomes 17th Trans Person Murdered in 2017

By TMPlanet 

Update 9 am Aug. 17th, reports have indicated Gwynevere was shot by their father.

A bittersweet shadow of victory was cast of over Texas’s trans community. News spread early that Texas legislature abruptly ended its special session late Tuesday without passing a bill regulating the use of bathrooms by transgender people, a setback for Gov. Greg Abbott (R), who had called the 30-day session in large part to enact such a law. The victory was over casted by the weekend death of a 26 year old trans person in a Dallas suburb.

Just past 5 pm on Saturday, August 12, Gwynevere became the 17th transgender individual in the United States to be murdered in 2017. They were shot by someone in their home. Gwynevere died at home after an argument escalated into violence Saturday afternoon, reports the Daily Light, a local paper. Song was pronounced dead at the scene². The other person was transported to the hospital. Early details at this link, but note that they are misgendered and dead named by the media here. In fact, the media even misspelled their family surname. The Ellis County Sheriff’s Office is continuing to investigate.

Song was a 2015 graduate of the University of Texas at Austin.

Marcy Mosher, who identified herself as Song’s mother, announced on the victim’s Facebook page that services will be held on Monday, Aug 21 at the Wayne Boze Funeral Home, at 1826 US-287 Business in Waxahachie.

“I love you so much, you are missed so much I can’t figure out how I’m going to go on,” Mosher wrote. “I promise you I will carry out your wishes.”

Trans Pride Initiative, a Dallas-based advocacy group, reported that the community is welcome to attend the services for Song.

According to the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs¹, Song is at least the 17th trans person reported killed this year, and the second from Texas. Kenne McFadden was found dead in the San Antonio River on April 9. McFadden’s death has been ruled a homicide.

Transgender people face unprecedented violence, and discrimination. While we denounce the actions of #notourpresident concerning the death of a peaceful protester by a white supremacist, as minority leaders across the country asked for the trans community to stand in solidarity, we also ask those leaders to stand against the continued violence on trans people. Together we can over come hate and bigotry.

Rest in power, Gwynevere. Thank you for the beauty, thoughtfulness and imagination you brought to this world. May we honor your life and death by seeking justice for all our trans family.

The list of trans people killed in 2017

  1. Mesha Caldwell-Mississippi: 41 yrs. old RIP Jan. 4th
  2. Jamie Lee Wounded Arrow: Sioux Falls: 28 yrs. old RIP Jan. 7th
  3. Jojo Striker-Toledo, OH: 23 yrs. old RIP Feb. 8th
  4. Keke Collier-Chicago: 24 yrs. old RIP Feb. 21st
  5. Chyna Gibson-New Orleans: 31 yrs. old RIP Feb. 25th
  6. Ciara McElveen-New Orleans: 26 yrs. old RIP Feb 27th
  7. Jaquarrius Holland (Brown)- Monroe, LA 18 yrs. old RIP Feb. 19th
  8. Alphonza Watson – Baltimore (RIP. March 22), 38 years old
  9. Chay Reed – Miami-Dade ( RIP. April 19), 28 years old
  10. Brenda Bostick-New York City, 59 years old RIP April 25th
  11. Sherrell Faulkner – Charlotte, NC (RIP. May 16), 46 years old
  12. Kenne McFadden – San Antonio (RIP. June 6), 27 years old
  13. Josie Berrios – Ithaca, NY (RIP. June 13), 28 years old
  14. Ava Le’Ray Barrin – Athens, GA (RIP. June 25), 17 years old
  15. Ebony Monroe – Lynchburg, VA (RIP. July 2), 28 years old
  16. Tee Tee Dangerfield – Atlanta, GA (RIP. July 31), 32 years old
  17. Gwynevere River Song – Waxahachie, TX (RIP. August 12), 26 years old

Say their name, read them loud. Hate tried to erase them, but for them we remain trans and proud

 

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  1. National Coalition of Anti-Violence Program
  2. GLAAD’s Media Reference Guide on reporting on Transgender persons, and reporting of media mis-representation.
  3. TDOR or Transgender Day of Remembrance
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The Problem with Men Like Bobby Valentino and Why It’s More Than Hypersexualizing of Trans Women

By Sabrina Samone

I can’t be the only trans woman this has happened too. You’re out shopping, a handsome man approaches you and starts a conversation. He opens the door for you, and asks do you have kids? How can your husband have you out here by yourself, fine as you are? You tell him you have no kids, or a husband. He continues with his inquisitive approach to figuring you out, while he asks for your number and a date. You can feel him watching you, studying you and if it’s a good day it just ends innocently there. Those other days is when his eyes swells, he stops and takes a step back to really look at you. He begins to figure out  your T (truth)¹, or the more politically correct phrase; sees that your gender identity differs from your assigned birth. Your heart beats faster, and sweat builds. You wonder how this will go. Will you be another statistic, or will this be an educational moment? Then again, could this be the moment you meet your soul mate? The questions, the anxiety, the uncertainty of being trans, but you got this.

Now come the questions like; ‘So you’re trans, I would have never known?’ He begin looking around to see if anyone else is watching him. For the past 30 minutes he seemed to have been unaware anyone else in the world existed, but now that he knows, he acts as if both of you are standing nude in the middle of a giant NFL stadium. The conversation has changed from asking you out on a date, to informing you that he has never been sexually active with a transgender woman before. More often than not the line continues as, but I always wanted to try. Maybe he tells you the first time he saw a transgender porn film, or a nude image of a nude trans-girl and how he was so turned on. Now you wonder did he know all along, as he continues telling you of his fantasies of one day meeting a rare unicorn. Yes you are entering the hyper-sexualized zone of being a transgender woman, and in fact, any woman.

Men are visual creatures, and predators. Before the masculists label me as a male hating feminist, I don’t mean predator in the registered sex offender sense. Predator as in a male’s primal sexual instinct. He enjoys the hunt. As my mother once said, it must not be up to the man how far to go with a woman, because if it was, he’d definitely go all the way every time. It’s up to the female, trans or cis, on how far you will let him go. It is your decision. It’s ok to say no.

Yet,  the case of Bobby Valentine² takes it a step deeper than just discarding this as simple hyper-sexualization of the female body. There is a sense of shame, and entitlement to this trans woman’s body. Men don’t pay for sex, ever. Men pay for discretion, so when Bobby Valentino hit up a transgender escort he was being on the down low, discrete, and not possibly because she was trans. Just possibly because he didn’t want his business on the streets, he has a girlfriend somewhere, as his tweets about his encounter revealed that he doesn’t seem to care who knows he had sex with a trans woman. All somewhat positive points in that regard, but what he did do was refuse to pay the escort he had hired, after having his services. Of course, a professional sex worker would have received payment up front regardless of gender, but this does raise the question of why some men feel that because an escort is transgender they don’t have to pay, or for the girl who isn’t a sex worker, he may feel entitled to have, as if he is doing her a favor.

Bobby Valentino has turned off his comments on social media and says he won’t let anyone steal his joy after he was allegedly outed by the sex worker. Over the weekend, a video surfaced online which allegedly shows the R&B singer quickly grabbing his clothes and running out of a hotel room after he refused to pay for “services” rendered.

Our trans sister, whom we will not reveal her name here to protect her identity, because trans women of color are victims of murder at an epidemic rate, reported that she did not mind putting Valentino on blast because it was her bank account she respected. Bobby ran off so fast that he had left his car keys, which the victim yelled at him that he would not be getting back until he pay the money owed, and to call  about the price.

Bobby wrote, “Say what u want! #imhappy😬people have so much hate in em that they wanna steal someone else joy.. can’t steal mine!😬”

While it’s debatable any joy was stolen from him, he definitely stole promised funds to a sex worker after having his, ‘joy’ with her. The mainstream tabloid media that has been reporting this weekend news, seems only infatuated with the fact the sex worker was transgender, not at all with the character and actions of Valentino.

For most transgender women this isn’t a new revelation. The media, our communities and churches, and even some of the men who claim to desire us often have such little respect or none at all for the bodies of transgender women. It’s a problem seen year after year when we read the names during our International Transgender Day of Remembrance. We see it in the countless attempts to legislate our bodies, and bathroom usage. It’s the in your face bigotry felt thru laws like The Freedom of Religion Acts, that give individual business a free reign to discriminate according to their taste and call it religious beliefs. It’s why nearly any transgender woman arrested and placed in a male prison is almost guaranteed to be raped, and violated, yet are continued to be placed with males. It brings to mind old rape defenses from the 1950’s, ‘she wore a red dress, she must have wanted it,’ or better yet, ‘she changed her gender so therefore she must’ve wanted it.’ A second assault on the victim.

It’s the constant message that our bodies are less valuable, that it doesn’t’ matter as much that trans women of color are being killed at an alarming rate, in the eyes of the Black Lives Matter movement. We battle TERFs for inclusion as women in women areas, and have sex offender Republican legislators, regulate our bathroom usage and create fear about our bodies to cover their indiscretions. The message the media has sent over the weekend, laughs at the revelation of Bobby Valentino’s sexual encounter with a trans woman, making comedy tabloid as the focus of the story. There is no debate or concern of the violation of the agreement broken by a wealthy high-profile celebrity and near homeless Atlanta sex worker. There is something deeper than just hypersexualization, and scandal here. It is shame, and a disregard for the safety of a trans woman’s body and it’s another example of how hip-hop, tabloid media continues to be an accessory to the murders of transgender women of color year after year.

Earlier Sunday afternoon, the victim released a  live video. She reports  receiving a lot of negative feed back for outing him. Revealing that the victim continues to be criminalized and further violated. Even throughout social media, gay men even joined in accusing her of using her “transness” to out a man, as if outing was the only issue at hand here, and implying that he may not have known she was trans. This is a constant message by cis men, gay and straight, that implies no one knowingly would be with a trans woman. The struggle for black trans women, even among black lgb, recalls to mind a line from The Color Purple; a black woman’s life is from can’t do to don’t.

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  1. My T: Slang for revealing that you are trans, or it being revealed. usage They got my T. (meaning they figured that I’m transgender).
  2. Bobby Wilson better known by his stage name Bobby V is an American singer, songwriter and actor. He has charted three No. 1 albums on Billboard’s U.S. Top R&B Chart since 2006. V’s first major single, “Slow Down”
  3.  International Transgender Day of Remembrance, which occurs annually on November 20, is a day to memorialize those who have been murdered as a result of transphobia and to bring attention to the continued violence endured by the transgender community.
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