On Monday, April 4 2016, the jury selection began for the trial of James Dixon, the 25-year-old man who was accused of manslaughter and assault in the 2013 murder of Islan Nettles, a 21-year-old black transgender woman.
Even though Dixon gave police statements, which describe his involvement in the incident just days after it occurred, he was not charged until March 2015. During the videotaped statement, detectives seemed skeptical of his account and asked if he was paid, coerced, or threatened. While all this was happening, another man was charged with assault in the case, but the district attorney later dropped those charges.
During the hour and ten minute long statement, Dixon was hesitant to say that he approached Nettles and began hitting her because he said that he doesn’t “go around gay-bashing people. I don’t care about what they do, I just don’t wanna be fooled. My pride is at stake.”
As if this was not bad, why is this case getting so little coverage? The only credible source that has covered this case in detail has been Mic.com. This issue tackles many larger societal troubles, including transphobia and xenophobia. The ignorance that plagued Dixon is one that is often troubling the African-American community, in general.
Nettles was one of at least 25 transgender women of color who have been murdered in recent years. Her death sparked cries for action in New York City and across the country, where states have varying degrees of legal protections for people based on their gender identity. North Carolina, as an example, passed a law mandating that every person use the bathroom that aligns with his or her assigned gender at birth.
Being “fooled by a transgender” and therefore embarrassed hones in on the greater issue of Black men’s pride being used to harm Black women, and my friends, it is time to swallow it. Allow yourselves to be vulnerable, tolerant, and kind to all, instead of allowing these ego and prideful ways deter us from the peaceful sanctity of humanity. Even more importantly, the media has to cover these stories if we are ever going to see real change.
(Source: Mario Tama/Getty Images)