Members of the LGBTQI community continue to express grief over the death of trans woman Keon Allister Patterson, also known as Sasha Fierce, after she was killed at Nelson Mandela Park, St Clair, on Tuesday night.
However, Patterson’s closest friends and loved ones are afraid to mourn her death publicly, worried that if they express their regret in the open, they will be targeted by bigots and homophobic people.
Patterson herself complained of being scorned and mistreated by the public. A YouTube vlog called Not a Straight Ting, which highlighted issues affecting people in the LGBTQI (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Intersex) community, featured Patterson in several episodes. In them she described some of the hardships of living an alternative life.
“You have to deal with the violence from the public and your peers...you are mistreated in the work industry, and in the hospital. If you go to the hospital for check-ups, they look at you strangely, the nurses make fun of you, scorn you, and do you all kinds of things.
“But I believe in myself, so I dress to go out... people who know me would usually tell others, ‘Don’t be on that. Respect him for who he is.’”
Neither respect nor regard was shown for Patterson when she was shot dead on Tuesday night. Newsday understands that Patterson was at the Nelson Mandela Park when two men approached and killed her. Police found her body in a pile of rubbish at the park. She had several gunshot wounds.
Two men were said to have been arrested and a gun seized. Up to press time the men remained in custody without being charged. The gun has been sent for ballistic testing.
Newsday was first told by police that Patterson may have been a sex worker, and her killers may have posed as clients. In fact Patterson was a well-known and outspoken member of the trans community, had been a participant in several beauty pageants and was an advocate for protection against HIV and AIDS.
One person who was willing to speak out described Patterson as a polite and friendly person, who genuinely cared for other people’s well-being.
“She was a great asset to our community, and her death is a complete shock and a huge loss,” this friend told Newsday.
While some have been calling Patterson’s murder a hate crime, police have not yet established a motive behind her murder.
On Wednesday at the weekly police press briefing public information officer Michael Jackman could neither confirm nor deny whether there had been an increase in crimes against people in the LGBTQI community.