Transgender slain; cops arrest guard

(Trinidad Guardian) Almost two weeks after the death of transgender woman Keon Alister Patterson in Port-of-Spain, another transgender woman, Keil Lensay, was murdered in Debe on Monday.

However, police described Lensay’s death not as a hate crime but a crime of passion. Investigators said Lensay, 35, of St John’s Trace, St Augus-tine, was killed following an argument with her lover.

The killer stabbed her multiple times on the head, chest and neck before attempting to slit her throat. The incident occurred on the compound of the National Energy Skills Centre along the SS Erin Road. A witness who heard Lensay’s screams alerted police around 4 am and officers arrived in time to find Lensay’s body wrapped in a sheet and stuffed in a garbage bag. A 36-year-old security guard was immediately arrested by police.

When the T&T Guardian visited the scene, two female security guards sat on chairs opposite the NESC compound talking quietly. They said they arrived for duty around 6 am but were told a murder had occurred on the compound. Police cordoned off the area as Homicide processed the compound. Students who arrived for classes were also turned away.

Lensay’s death is the second transgender murder this month. On December 5, Patterson, 28, was shot dead at Nelson Mandela Park, Port-of-Spain. Her death was deemed a hate crime by police and Chief Justice Ivor Archie. However, one of T&T’s first transgender females, Jowelle De Souza, yesterday said she did not believe there were hate crimes against the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) community in T&T.

“I have walked the streets as a transgender woman since 1987 and I’ve interacted with thousands of people and never once have I ever been the victim of a hate crime. I do not believe there are hate crimes in T&T against the LGBT community,” De Souza said.

She added that the deaths of Patterson and Lensay were sad, adding there must have been more which led to their murders.

But Colin Robinson, executive director of the Coalition Advocating for the Inclusion of Sexual Orientation (CAISO), who has been campaigning for the recognition of “sexual citizenship and gender justice,” yesterday renewed his call for legislation to give State protection to those with alternative sexual orientation. Saying violence is real, Robinson said many incidents go unreported because the victims are either too ashamed to go to the police or afraid of being exposed to their relatives.

He also said CAISO has been working with The UWI Institute of Gender and Developmental Studies, as well as the Police Academy, to bring about changes in how police treat members of the LGBT community.

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