Death of Celine Walker calls for change

Posted: 8:24 PM, Feb 18, 2018
Updated: 2018-02-19 00:59:32Z

TALLAHASSEE, FL (WTXL) -- Today, a group was calling for action over Celine Walker, a transgender woman murdered earlier this month. Dozens came together outside the Capitol Sunday in support of 36-year old Celine Walker. 

Walker was shot in a Jacksonville hotel room on February 4th. Her friends say they know it was a hate crime.The national center for transgender equality states, she is the fourth known transgender homicide victim reported in the U.S. this year.

Dr. Petra Doan, an FSU Professor, says,"Trans people are not just murdered randomly, we're murdered 99 times out of 100 because someone figured out that we were trans and was upset about it."

When the Jacksonville Sheriffs office reported the incident, they got Walker's name and gender wrong. She was listed with her birth name and gender, a way she chose not to identify herself. A week passed before walker's friends even knew what happened.

The Tallahassee transgender community says, Walker is one of many hate crime victims. Not only is the group mourning at Sunday's vigil, they're also fighting for change. Currently, Florida's hate crime reporting act doesn't include gender identity and physical disability. Walker was not recognized as transgender in her death report and the Tallahassee transgender community wants to change that.

Lakey Love, Equality Florida Transaction Training Coordinator, says, "We want to support the disability rights act. People have put together a legislation to include gender and gender identity and physical disabilities in the state hate crimes reporting act. " National statistics document at least 28 hate crime-related deaths toward transgender people nationwide in 2017, making it the highest on record. The group attending Walker's vigil wants to protect the transgender community from future hate crimes with the new bill.