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Transgender community alarmed after two murders

9:58 AM, Dec 9, 2013   |    comments
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Cleveland (WKYC) -- Two transgender women murdered just a day apart now has members of the Cleveland transgender community alarmed and speaking out.

Police discovered the first victim, 52-year-old Betty Skinner, beaten to death inside her Devonshire Road apartment Thursday.

Friends in the LGBT community have since identified the second victim found shot inside a car on West 25th Street early Friday as 22-year-old Brittany Nicole Kidd Stergis.

Although there is no evidence connecting the two murders, the fact that both victims were transgender women is hard to ignore.

"It really tugs at our heartstrings because it's not like these are people that we don't know. ... They're our friends. They're our brothers. They're our sisters," said Jacob Nash, a transgender community activist with the Transitional Outreach group.

Nash says heartache is now sweeping through the Cleveland transgender community.

"Thinking about what's happened, especially in the past two days, two days. ... It's been so overwhelming emotionally for me because these are two more women that I have to bury that are part of my community," he said.

These back-to-back murders are now part of a growing list of recent crimes that have targeted members of the LGBT community in just the past few months.

In April another woman, later identified as 20-year-old CeCe Acoff, was found murdered in an Olmsted Township pond.

"The fact that we've had three murders in the transgender community and several hate crimes towards the gay community in the past six months is very, very, alarming. ... And I hate to put it out there, but with the Gay Games coming next year the whole world is watching us," said Nash.

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