In the Ghost Ship fire in Oakland California there were a number of trans people killed including a poet and a musician.
For transgender victims, respect starts with using name they choseThe Sheriff's Department said,
By Ryan Kost
December 6, 2016
For more than 24 hours — ever since officials identified Feral Pines as one of the victims of the Ghost Ship fire — Eliza Wicks-Frank fielded calls from friends. Pines had once been Wicks-Frank’s partner; they’d spent five years together. People wanted to know what they could do, how they could help.
Just watch the media, Wicks-Frank kept telling them. Wicks-Frank had seen news reports about the fire victims reference a birth name Pines hadn’t used for more than a decade and a pronoun that didn’t reflect Pines’ gender identity. Wicks-Frank asked friends to call and correct them. Feral Pines was her name. She was a transgender woman.
“It’s alien. It’s infuriating,” said Wicks-Frank, who uses gender-neutral pronouns.
Officials and the media frequently face challenges in trying to identify victims in situations like these. In the case of the Oakland warehouse fire, given the number of trans and queer individuals affected, the challenge is particularly acute. Pines is one of three trans women confirmed dead in the fire, along with Cash Askew and Em B, also known as Em Bohlka.
“That’s been tough to navigate,” said Alameda County Sheriff's Department Sgt. Ray Kelly. “It’s a very sensitive topic.”
Kelly says the department is trying to address issues around identity head-on. They’re working with Tiffany Woods, a consultant on transgender issues, to get their information in sync with what the community is saying.In death we are at the mercy of our next of kin, how will they treat us? Will they respect our transition? One of our concerns when we were trying to pass the birth certificate law last year was making sure a death certificate reflected our true gender. We were told that the gender on our birth certificate should be carried over to our death certificate even for those who did not have Gender Affirming Surgery.
“We want to make sure everybody is respected and has dignity right now,” Woods said. “Your name and your identity are who you are at your core. When it’s not respected, you don’t have dignity in death.”
One of the three trans people was a poet.
Transgender poet identified as victim of Oakland fireIn the fire we also lost an upcoming musician.
By Emily Kirschenheuter
Published: December 6, 2016
OAKLAND (KRON) — Em Bohlka was an Oakland poet who had only recently come out as a woman to a handful of close friends and family, her father wrote on social media.
Bohlka died in the devasting Oakland warehouse fire that killed 36 people.
The 33-year-old battled gender dysphoria for years, according to her father, Jack Bohlka.
She had begun her transition into “becoming a beautiful, happy woman” earlier this year.
Trans musician Cash Askew among 36 killed in Oakland warehouse fireTo all the people killed in the fire my heart and thoughts go out to them.
By Erin Rook
December 5, 2016
Authorities confirmed that at least 36 people died after a fire broke out in an Oakland warehouse-turned-artists’ community Friday night. Some of the victims are believed to be members of the LGBTQ community.
Transgender musician Cash Askew, 22, of dream-pop band Them Are Us Too was one of 11 victims identified by authorities as of Monday morning. According to Scout Wolfcave, founder of the Trans Assistance Project, two other trans women are also feared among the deceased: Feral Pines and Em Bohlka.