NEW ORLEANS - The recent murders of two transgender women has the LGBTQ community on edge. On Friday, they voiced their concerns to city council members and police. Their goal was to let people know they deserve respect.
"Today, we break the chains of visibility and proclaim our existence," said Jada Cordona.
The New Orleans LGBTQ community let their voice be heard.
"We want to let everyone know, we are real," said Cordona. "We're real people."
"We just want respect," said Teah Smith. "We give respect and the best thing we can do is have a respectable community."
A townhall meeting was held to find out ways to help strengthen relations between the city and the transgender community.
"I think feeling safe, feeling respected, knowing that they can be heard is the priority," said Rev. Allisan Rowland.
"We have to as people as a community, we have to bridge that alliance together," said Sgt. Frank Robertson with the NOPD.
City officials came with something to say.
"If we're not fighting for all of us," said Councilmember-At-Large, Jason Williams, "we're not fighting for any of us."
They also answered questions about things like job equality, legal issues, and with the recent killings of two transgender women, safety concerns.
"What is the council and New Orleans police doing to make sure that these murders are really completely looked into?" said one concerned citizen.
"It's hard," said Smith. "And I look at myself and this is how I live everyday. I'm also afraid to be in the streets."
Some people came to show support. Like Michelle Hamilton, who's child is transgender.
"I think there's a lot of fear in the community right now," she said. "I'm very glad to see the turn out and I hope we can all find something to do together to help."
For some, the discussion brought hope.
"As long as I'm employed by the New Orleans Police Department, this agency will be your family," said Sgt. Robertson. "I am your family."
And say the meeting was a step towards these two communities working together as one.
"They may be different in some ways," said Rev. Rowland. "But they're human, they're equally deserving of our respect and our love and they have a right to live happy, fulfilling lives as they are."
Nationally, so far in 2017, at least seven transgender men and women have been killed. In terms of the two transgender women recently murdered in New Orleans, Sgt. Robertson said the NOPD has made progress in both cases, but that the investigation is ongoing.
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